Arizona was able to jump out to a quick start and never lost its lead as the Wildcats defeated the UTEP Miners 72-51 Thursday night at McKale.
Kaleb Tarczewski started the scoring and Grant Jerrett followed with a three-pointer to give Arizona a quick 5-0 lead. Jalen Ragland then answered with a three of his own for UTEP before Jerrett hit his second from behind the arc and Mark Lyons added a layup. The teams then exchanged threes and Julian Washburn scored a bucket to make it 13-8 before Ragland hit one of two free throws to bring the Miners within four. Not too long after, Kevin Parrom hit a three-pointer and the Wildcats led 16-9 with 11:38 left in the first half.
Chris Washburn scored his first bucket of the game out of a timeout, but Lyons answered with a three-pointer to put the Wildcats up 19-11 with about nine minutes left. Tarczewski hit a free-throw to give the UA its biggest lead of the night before C.J. Cooper hit a three-pointer for the Miners. Two free-throws from Nick Johnson made it 22-14 with a little over seven minutes left, but Jacques Streeter made a bucket to keep the UA lead at six.
Johnson was able to hit a three-pointer the next time down court and Chol caught an offensive rebound for a dunk to put Arizona up 27-16 with about five minutes left. Solomon Hill then hit a three-pointer from the corner and Arizona went into the under four minute media timeout up 30-16.
Brandon Ashley’s free-throw extended the lead to 15, but Streeter hit a layup to cut it down by a point. Julian Washburn then hit a basket off an Arizona turnover and then Chris Washburn hit a reverse layup to force Arizona to take a timeout up 31-22 with 1:54 left in the half. Tarczewski was able to draw a foul and hit one of two free throws and Lyons added a three-pointer to put Arizona up 35-22 at the half.
Mark Lyons started the half with two free throws before Julian Washburn was able to hit one of his own. Chris Washburn then scored a basket, but Tarczewski answered with two at the line to keep Arizona’s lead at 39-25. Cedrick Lang scored his first points of the game with two free throws and Ragland added two of his own and Streeter had a layup to force Arizona to call timeout with the lead cut to eight.
Hill ended the 6-0 run with a three-pointer out of the timeout and then grabbed an offensive rebound and got a dunk down the middle of the lane to bring Arizona back up 44-31. After a Miner free-throw, Parrom hit two of his own at the line with about 14 minutes left to go in the second half. Hill then hit a jumper to give Arizona the 48-33 lead and a baseline jumper by Chol gave Arizona its biggest lead of the night.
Chris Washburn made one from the line and Streeter hit two to bring the Miners within 14 points, but Parrom answered with two of his own from the charity stripe. Julian Washburn brought it right back to 14 with two free throws and Cooper hit a three from the corner to give UTEP some momentum. Lyons tried to end it on the next trip down court, however, as he was able to hit a jumper and force UTEP to call timeout with the Wildcats up 54-41.
Chris Washburn was able to dunk it down the middle of the lane coming out of the timeout, but a Jerrett offensive board and free-throw put the Wildcats up 12. A three-pointer by Cooper out of a timeout brought the Miners within single digits and the ensuing free-throw by Julian Washburn made it 55-47 with about eight minutes left.
Two free-throws by Lyons gave Arizona its double digit lead back, but a jumper by Julian Washburn was the answer. Johnson was able to make a layup out of the media timeout to put Arizona up 10 and Tarczewski dunked home an offensive rebound off a missed layup by Hill to increase the lead. Brandon Ashley was then able to keep the Arizona run going with a layup that put the Wildcats up 63-49 with under four minutes left.
Ashley followed with two free throws and followed a Jordin Mayes free-throw with a layup to give Arizona its biggest lead of the night, 68-49 with a little over two minutes left in the game. A dunk by Chol shortly after gave Arizona the 21–point lead and basically ended the game.