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Arizona men's basketball wins by 50 over Nebraska-Omaha

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Amy Bailey and Amy Bailey | The Daily Wildcat Christian Koloko (35) looks to the basket while dunking againist Omaha in the second half. The Wildcats defeated the Mavericks 99-49.

After shooting a season-low 27% at Baylor over the weekend, Arizona came back home to McKale and cruised to an easy 99-49 victory over Nebraska-Omaha. 

The only worry about tonight’s game was for Arizona to not look forward to this Saturday when they host No. 6 Gonzaga. Quickly into the game, the Wildcats already had a double-digit lead and never looked back. Josh Green and Chase Jeter led all scorers with 15 and Nico Mannion finished with 15 points and 11 assists for a double-double.

"It was a really big focus for us to bounce back during practice," Mannion said. "Everyone gained more confidence as the game went on and shots went down."

Even though Sean Miller said Arizona’s last game against Baylor was one of the best defensive efforts of the season, it still wasn’t enough for them to win with how bad the offense played. But tonight, everything came together. They held Omaha to only 26% shooting and had 21 points off turnovers. 

The offense also played much better Wednesday night. They shot 57% and went 12-for-26 from three point range. Dylan Smith had a great shooting night; he went 4-for-6 by himself from the three point line, and also grabbed three rebounds.

Christian Koloko was one of the few bright spots against Baylor and it earned him more playing time tonight. Koloko made his presence felt with 10 rebounds and five points. Miller has said in his last couple of press conferences he wants to get Koloko more playing time, and it looks like that’ll be the case moving forward. With Gonzaga up next, Koloko probably won’t get the same number of minutes as he did tonight, but he could be a big factor when he does come in.

"We're going to play [Koloko] in the game," Miller said. "For him to add depth is a really big deal. … We really have to play a great game, otherwise we won't be good enough."

Up next is the game everyone’s been waiting for since it was announced. A top-ten program, Gonzaga, comes to the McKale Center on Saturday night at 8 p.m. for the first ranked matchup at McKale since 2017. The game will be televised on ESPN.


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