Arizona in a battle with Buffalo in NCAA Tournament first round

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Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Parker Jackson-Cartwright (0) strips the ball away from Buffalo's Jeremy Harris (2) in the Arizona-Buffalo game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 15 in Boise, Idaho.

Boise, Idaho-- Arizona came into Thursday's matchup with the University of Buffalo the prohibitive favorite as the No. 4 seed in the South Region of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The Bulls, however, had other ideas as the No. 13 seed hit three 3-pointers to jump out to a seven-point lead early on and take a 40-38 lead into halftime in the Taco Bell Arena..

The Wildcats held tough despite the early onslaught. An unexpected nine points from the bench steadied Arizona and led to a 3-point lead with just over four minutes to go in the first half.

Buffalo out-rebounded Arizona in the first half, at one point holding a 16 to 9 advantage on the boards before finishing the first half up 19-13. To make matters more difficult for the Wildcats, the Bulls Jeremy Harris dropped 14 points to keep Buffalo in the lead. The Bulls connected on six 3-point shots in the first half total.

One reason for the Bulls success on the glass was the constant fronting and double-teaming of star forward Deandre Ayton. Buffalo crowded the freshman in front, to prevent the entry pass, and when he was able to secure possession, the Bulls rushed to defend him with multiple players. The strategy limited Ayton's production to just seven points and no offensive rebounds.

Rawle Alkins led Arizona with eight points but Arizona has struggled behind the arch, connecting on just 1-of-8 from deep.


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