Arizona men's basketball overcame a poor first half performance behind Deandre Ayton's career-high 28 points Saturday to beat UNLV 91-88 in overtime at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Wildcats moved to 5-3 in the season.
Deandre Ayton posted another double-double with a career high 28 points and 10 rebounds on 12-for-23 shooting. Ayton was a force in the paint and made huge plays when the game was on the line. Together, Ayton and Allonzo Trier carried the Wildcats with 57 points combined. Trier finished with 29 points on 10-for-19 shooting.
In the first half, Arizona shot 35 percent from the floor and just nine percent, 1-for-11, from deep and trailed the entire 20 minutes. Despite shooting poorly the Wildcats kept the game within arms reach, never getting down by more than 13. In the second half Arizona shot over 60 percent and went 5-for-7 from deep, matching UNLV's fast-paced offense.
With the game tied and 34 seconds left in regulation, Arizona had a chance to take the lead, but a missed layup by Dylan Smith led to a shot clock violation by Ira Lee. UNLV then missed a contested 3-pointer to move the game to overtime.
The game stayed close in overtime but swung in the Wildcats favor when UNLV fouled Ayton with 34 seconds left and two seconds on the shot clock. Ayton hit one of the free throws, putting the Wildcats up 87-86. UNLV missed on its next possession and fouled Trier. The game ended shortly after with Trier hitting his free throws and UNLV missing a game tying attempt.
Freshman Brandon Randolph did not take a shot in the first half but gave the Wildcats a much needed eight points on 3-for-3 shooting in the second half. Parker Jackson-Cartwright was the only other Wildcat, not named Ayton or Trier, to score in double figures. He finished with 12 points and three assists.
After getting out-rebounded 24-16 in the first half, the Wildcats did a better job boxing out and grabbing rebounds in the second half, ending the game with an even 37-37 on the glass.
Arizona moves on to play No. 9 Texas A&M in the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2.
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