Arizona rolls over Rhode Island

Brandon Ashley

Arizona opened up another big lead and never relented as it defeated Rhode Island on Tuesday night to advance in the NIT Preseason Tip-Off. Read on for a complete recap of the win.

In what is seemingly becoming a pattern, Arizona opened up an early lead and never relented as it defeated Rhode Island 87-59 Tuesday night at McKale.

T.J. McConnell scored the first points for Arizona and Aaron Gordon and Brandon Ashley followed to quickly put Arizona up 6-0. Jarelle Reischel got Rhode Island on the board, but Gordon scored before the timeout as Arizona led 8-2 with 14:38 left in the first half.

Gordon proceeded to score out of the timeout, but Reischel and Biggie Minnis answered to cut the lead to 10-6 with 11:36 left in the half.

Johnson hit a three out of the timeout and Ashley followed with a two. Johnson then made one of his own before Xavier Munford responded. McConnell answered, but one free-throw from Munford cut it in half. The next time down court, Rondae Jefferson scored to put Arizona up 21-9 and Kaleb Tarczewski's first points put Arizona up 14.

Munford scored again, but Tarczewski, Hollis-Jefferson, and Gabe York got consecutive baskets to force a timeout with the Wildcats up 29-11 with 4:33 left in the half.

Munford got a three-point play as Gordon scored soon after and Johnson picked up a three-point play. Hollis-Jefferson then made a three before Mike Aaman made a basket. After a free-throw by Ashley, Minnis made one of two from the line to make it 38-17 in favor of the Wildcats with 1:46 left in the first half.

After two free-throws by Munford, McConnell made a three and Ashley added two free-throws as the Wildcats went into the half up 43-19.

Gilvydas Biruta started the second half scoring, but it did not take long for Ashley to respond. Reischel then scored, but Ashley made two consecutive hoops before two free-throws from Mike Powell. Gordon responded with two at the line, Johnson hit a three and added two free-throws to extend the Arizona lead.

After a bucket by Minnis, Tarczewski scored and Minnis came down and scored again before Hollis-Jefferson scored off a putback to give Arizona the 60-30 lead with just under 14 minutes left in the half. Munford scored 30 seconds later and then added a three to cut Arizona's lead to 25.

Ashley and E.C. Matthews exchanged one free-throw each before Tarczewski got a dunk. Munford hit one of two free-throws the next trip down the court and Biruta scored soon after as Arizona led 63-39 with about nine minutes left.

T.J. Buchanan got a three-point play and Munford two free-throws to continue Rhode Island's 9-2 run. However, York hit a three from the left side as Munford made a two seconds later to put Arizona's lead at 69-49 with 7:39 left.

Ashley and Biruta exchanged baskets as Hollis-Jefferson and Matthews both made two free-throws each. Johnson proceeded to hit a long jumper and picked up a three-point play to put Arizona back up 75-50 with 4:58 left in regulation.

Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson got consecutive baskets to put Arizona up 29, as Biruta scored after. A dunk by Johnson then forced a timeout by Rhode Island and put the exclamation mark on the Arizona victory.

With the win, Arizona advances to next Wednesday's semifinal against Drexel at Madison Square Garden. Recommended Stories

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