HALFTIME: Arizona leads New Mexico State 32-24
At halftime the Arizona Wildcats lead 32-24 over New Mexico State in the McKale Center.
A majority of No. 1 Arizona’s (9-0) offense has come from its big men, who have taken advantage of the nonathletic Aggies’ (7-4) front line.
Wildcat center Kaleb Tarczewski helped Arizona get out of an early slump, which saw the newly top-ranked Wildcats trailing NMSU 10-5 early on.
Arizona opened the game 2-for-8 from the field and converted three turnovers in the first five minutes.
The turnovers have been limited since the slow start; both Arizona and NMSU have seven at the half.
Arizona found its energy following the first media timeout with a strong post presence from Tarczewski, who, at the half, has eight points with three rebounds.
Forward Brandon Ashley leads the team with 10 points and has made the Wildcats’ only two 3-pointers.
Quick transition points by Arizona and attacking the Aggies’ lack of athleticism were key to finding the Wildcats’ energy.
The Wildcats took their first lead midway through the half as a baseline inbound dunk by Tarczewski gave Arizona a 13-11 advantage.
NMSU’s 7-foot-5, 360-pound center Sim Bhullar draws a lot of attention for his size, but his inability to get back on defense and move quickly in post has Arizona up by eight at the half.
Bhullar has contributed with two blocks but has zero points and just three rebounds.
Arizona continued to attack the Aggies’ weakness and slowly increased its lead.
In the last five minutes of the half, Arizona scored most of its points on transitions and looked for the big men down low in the post. Arizona ended the half on a 12-6 run.
—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella