New Mexico State was over matched from the start, as Arizona defeated it 74-48 Wednesday night at McKale.
Tshilidzi Nephawe started the scoring and Daniel Mullings added two free-throws to put the Aggies up 4-0. Brandon Ashley proceeded to make a three-pointer, but Mullings followed with a basket. A dunk by Aaron Gordon then cut the NMSU lead to 6-5 with 15:42 left in the first half.
Renaldo Dixon got his first points of the night and Mullings added two more. Ashley then made two free-throws and followed with a bucket. Nephawe made one of two from the line and a dunk by Kaleb Tarczewski tied the game at 11 with 11:45 left in the half.
Tarczewski was able to score again and Gordon found Ashley for a three-pointer that forced a NMSU timeout with the Wildcats up 16—11 with 9:54 left in the half. Nick Johnson and Mullings then exchanged hoops to keep the deficit at five a few minutes later.
Tarczewski got another two points, but K.C. Ross-Miller answered with a three and DK Eldridge made a shot to cut the UA lead to two. Gordon made one of two from the line with 6:19 left to build the lead the lead to three before a timeout.
Ross-Miller scored again and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got his first points of the game. McConnell and Gordon then followed with buckets of their own as Arizona extended its lead to 27-20 with 3:13 left in the first half.
Tarczewski made two from the line and Mullings scored off a turnover by Johnson as Arizona kept its seven point lead with 1:45 left in the first half. After a basket by Dix, Hollis-Jefferson had a highlight-worthy dunk on a three-point play to give Arizona a 32-24 lead going into the half.
Mullings and Ashley exchanged baskets to start the half before Mullings made two from the line. McConnell then scored five consecutive points to force a NMSU timeout with the Wildcats up 39-28 about three minutes into the second half.
Eldridge made a three and Johnson then hit a basket. Ashley got another three and Tarczewski added a shot of his own before Sim Bhullar and Mullings kept the Aggies within 46-35 with about 13 minutes left.
Gordon scored soon after and Kevin Aronis made two free-throws to hold Arizona’s lead at 11. Tarczewski and Mullings exchanged a pair of free-throws each before Gordon scored a basket and Hollis-Jefferson built the lead to 15.
Nephawe made two free-throws the next trip down court, as Hollis-Jefferson scored on the offensive glass. Nephawe had a quick answer, but so did Gordon the next trip down court as Arizona led 58-43 with 8:21 left in regulation.
Ross-Miller made two free-throws to cut the Arizona lead to 13, but McConnell brought it back to 16 and a basket by Tarczewski gave the Wildcats a 62-45 lead before a Hollis-Jefferson three-point play made it a 20-point lead with 5:52 left.
Johnson then scored four consecutive points before fouling out and the 24-point lead would be more than enough for the Wildcats.