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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


FINAL: Arizona 83, New Mexico State 76


LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Arizona overcame New Mexico State’s 19 offensive rebounds and 23 second-chance points to defeat the Aggies 83-76 in the Pan American Center on Tuesday night.

NMSU’s frontline gave the smaller, less physical Wildcats fits, but Arizona snuck by the Aggies by drilling nine 3-pointers, shooting 51.7 percent from the field and riding the play of freshman Nick Johnson in his first collegiate start.

Johnson led the Wildcats with 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc. Johnson wasn’t the only highlight, however, as Solomon HIll continued his stellar play with 12 points, six rebounds and seven assists, and Jesse Perry scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

The Arizona trio combined for 46 points, 18 rebounds, 11 assists and four 3-pointers to lead the Wildcats to victory. While UA snapped a two-game losing streak with the win, the Wildcats certainly didn’t waltz to victory lane.

After trailing 44-40 at halftime, the Aggies opened the second half with an 8-0 run to take a 48-44 lead. Arizona fought back to tie things up at 53 but NMSU wouldn’t go away and led 58-56 with just over 10 minutes to play.

The Aggies were dominating the glass and the Wildcats seemed to have no answer for 6-foot-11 NMSU big man Hamidu Rahaman, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.

But behind five points from both Johnson and Kyle Fogg and four points form Josiah Turner the Wildcats rattled off a 14-2 run to take a 70-60 lead with 7:33 remaining.

Aside form a late push from by the Aggies to bring it within three with 1:04 left, Arizona stayed in the driver’s seat and moved to 5-2 on the season.

Despite their lack of size, the Wildcats beat the Aggies with their quickness, three-point prowess, and balanced attack. Nine different UA players scored at least two points and the Wildcats wore down NMSU’s press with their athleticism.

Arizona tore up the Aggies constant-pressure defense to the tune of 19 assists and 11 turnovers. While Johnson, Perry and Hill stole the show, Arizona received a huge lift from its bench.

Behind 12 points, six rebounds and three assists from Turner, the Wildcats bench scored 21 points, helping UA dial up its highest scoring output of the season.

With the victory Arizona is now 1-2 in its last three games and will host NAU in McKale Center on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

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