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Arizona beats Utah 74-73 in close win

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Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Brandon Randolph (5) swats the ball from Utah's Justin Bibbins (1). At the half, Arizona leads Utah 43 to 33.

Dusan Ristic made three 3-pointers and scored seven points in the final two minutes of the game to carry No. 11 Arizona men’s basketball to a hard fought 74-73 win over Utah Saturday in the McKale Center. 

Arizona had a one point lead and possession of the ball with 4.3 seconds to go. But Allonzo Trier fouled a Utah player and turned the ball over as Parker Jackson-Cartwright inbounded the ball, giving Utah a chance to win the game.

Utah inbounded the ball along the baseline under the basket and Donnie Tillman threw up a difficult layup attempt from behind the basket. Keanu Pinder grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 0.3 left. Pinder would miss the free throw but Utah had no timeouts left and had to attempt a full court shot that didn’t come close. 

"We did a good job of not fouling on that last play," Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. 

Arizona led by as much as 13 in the second half, but Utah brought it back to within one on a 13-2 run and eventually took the lead with under five minutes left in the game. 

Dusan Ristic was the answer for Arizona. The big man gave Arizona the lead with a floater and then hit a deep contested three to put Arizona up four with 1:29 to go. From there, the senior knocked down two free throws to score seven straight and move Arizona to 18-4 and 8-1 in the Pac-12.   

"As of late, we have been progressing," Jackson-Cartwright said. "We are doing it when it counts, and that's what matters."  

Ristic finished the game 3-for-3 from three point range, had a career-high 23 points and seven rebounds, as well as passed the 1,000 point mark in Arizona basketball history.

"Today was his day." Miller said. "I center it around him because we played through adversity and we needed him to have a big game, and he did."

Arizona’s other big man, Deandre Ayton, also hit a three in the game. Ayton finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Utah did a good job of double-teaming Ayton and keeping him away from the basket, but he made up for it with his mid-range jump shot. 

Throughout the game, Utah stayed within closing distance by getting to the free throw line. The Utes took 21 free throw attempts, while Arizona only took 11. Multiple times McKale Center exploded in a angry roar as the officials made tough calls against Arizona, and then at the end of the game the fans booed the officials as they left the floor. 

The foul discrepancy left three of Arizona’s players in foul trouble during the final five minutes, while only one of Utah’s players had more than three fouls. 

The Wildcats started the game shooting 6-for-6 in the first four minutes and jumped to a early 14-4 lead. Arizona held a 10 point lead through most of the first half until Utah went on a 9-0 run with under six minutes left to cut it to to within four. Arizona answered with a run of its own and took a 10 point lead into halftime. 

Overall, the Wildcats shot 64 percent from the floor and 63 percent from 3-point range while holding Utah to 44 percent from the floor and 37 percent from deep. However, turnovers hurt the Wildcats and helped Utah stay in the game. Arizona turned the ball over four times during Utah's run and ended the game with 15 turnovers. 

Allonzo Trier had 16 points and five turnovers, while Parker Jackson-Cartwright had 12 points and four turnovers.  

For Utah, Sedrick Barefield led the game with 26 points while David Collette followed him with 14. 

Once again Rawle Alkins sat out with soreness in his right foot. Alkins has now missed three of Arizona’s last four games. 

"I'm happy Rawle got some rest," Miller said. "It's building confidence in some guys that got an opportunity, but you could feel us wear down in the last two games. Rawle, he takes care of that to some degree."

Miller said his foot is not injured and Alkins claims he does not have any pain in it at all. However, Miller said the team wants to be careful and prevent further pain in the future. Miller promised that he is not hiding anything involving Alkins foot, and that he hopes he can get back on the court soon. 

Arizona goes on the road to play at Washington State Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. on Pac-12 Network. 


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