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Arizona struggles defensively in 84-90 upset loss to NC State

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Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Brandon Randolph floats the ball in over CSUB's Jarkel Joiner. Randolph had only 1 point coming from a free throw.

Despite big numbers from star players, Arizona men’s basketball struggled defensively in an upset loss to the NC State Wolfpack Wednesday during Arizona’s first game of the Battle for Atlantis tournament in Paradise Islands, Bahamas. 

Deandre Ayton posted a career high 27 points and 14 rebounds, but it was not enough for the Wildcats to overcome NC State. Ayton played well, scoring at will around the rim and even hitting a momentum changing 3-pointer in the first half. 

Arizona started the game off very slowly, letting NC State jump to an early nine point lead. Head coach Sean Miller rallied the Wildcats with a timeout midway through the first half and the Wildcats responded with a run that tied the game 40-40 at the half. 

Arizona shot poorly from deep all night, hitting only 2 of 17 shots from beyond the arch. The Wolfpack shot much better and seemed to hit Arizona with a big 3-pointer every time the Wildcats started to make a run. 

Arizona guard Allonzo Trier also had 27 points as he tried to will the Wildcats to a victory. Trier started the game off very slowly, turning the ball over twice and only scoring three points in the first half, but he found his game inside the paint during the second half. Trier scored 24 points in the second half with nine points coming from the line. Trier single-handedly led the Wildcats on a 8-0 run midway through the second half but struggled to come up with crucial buckets during the last few minutes of the game. 

Miller changed the starting lineup for the Wildcats, starting Dylan Smith instead of freshman Emmanuel Akot. Smith shot 1-for-4 and finished with only two points. 

For NC State, guard Allerik Freeman had 24 points alongside 20 points from point guard Braxton Beverly. The Wolfpack had seven players with eight or more points and its bench outscored the Wildcats 39-6. 

The loss puts Arizona in the consolation bracket of the Battle for Atlantis tournament. The Wildcats will face the loser between Northern Iowa and SMU on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.


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