The Arizona men's basketball team defeated California Baptist by a score of 84-60, making that 11 wins in a row since the beginning of head coach Tommy Lloyd’s era.
With this win, Arizona made a strong case for the top-ranked team in the Pac-12 along with UCLA who they will face in less than two weeks.
In a very fast-paced start, Arizona went down 18-7, with Reed Nottage and Ty Rowell foolproof from long range. Lead by a great rim-protection by Christian Koloko – three blocks in a row that sent McKale Center fans on cloud nine – and an unsurprisingly clutch three from Kerr Kriisa, Arizona came back closing the half up 40-33.
In the second half of the game, Azuolas Tubelis dominated the paint, finding easy buckets inside the smile. He finished the game with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Justin Kier, Bennedict Mathurin and Koloko all went double digits too (10, 14 and 12 points respectively).
Arizona turned the ball over 13 times in the game and collected 45 rebounds. Arizona shot 51% from the field (33/65) with an excellent 41% from the 3-point-line (9/22) and 69% from free throws (9/13).
“It was a tough start, but then we started doing our job,” Koloko said after the game. “We did a great work in the second half, protecting the rim and blocking shots.“
“I imagined us being 11-0 already during practices. I saw how the team bonded, we are a really good team,” Mathurin said.
“It’s just a question of trying to settle the tempo and the pace in the game. Sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn’t,” Lloyd said about the tough start. “Azuolas (Tubelis) settled his dominance in the second half of the game. Now I’m looking game to game, regardless of what happens (on the road trip upcoming). We know we are not gonna finish undefeated, that never happened since 1976.”
Next up: Arizona will start it's four-game road trip Wednesday against Tennessee, before going to California for the big matchup against UCLA on Dec. 30.
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