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March Madness

#1 Arizona fends off #16 Wright State

#1 Arizona fends off #16 Wright State

Christian Koloko contributed 17 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and five blocked shots in a stellar all-around performance to help #1 seed Arizona sail to an 87-70 victory over Wright State on Friday in a South Regional first-round game at San Diego.

Bennedict Mathurin scored a team-best 18 points and Dalen Terry added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats, who will face either eighth-seeded Seton Hall or ninth-seeded TCU in Sunday’s second round.

Azuolas Tubelis had 13 points and Pelle Larsson added 11 for Arizona (32-3), which overcame 19 turnovers during the wire-to-wire victory.

“I think they were fine,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said of his players to truTV. “Wright State is a good team and they have a lot of pride and they have no quit in them. We had them on the ropes a couple times and they battled back.”

Grant Basile registered 21 points and three blocked shots for Wright State (22-14). Trey Calvin scored 16 points, Tim Finke had 15 points, six rebounds and four steals, and Tanner Holden had just 12 points.

Holden was only 3 of 11 from the field two nights after pouring in 37 points on 11-of-15 in shooting in a 93-82 win over Bryant in the First Four at Dayton, Ohio.

Kerr Kriisa (ankle) missed his third straight game for Arizona.
The Wildcats shot 55 percent from the field, including 11 of 20 from 3-point range. Arizona held a 46-25 rebounding edge to offset their turnovers. The Pirates lost the ball just six times.

Wright State made just 34.8 percent of its shots and was 9 of 25 from behind the arc.

Arizona led by 11 at the break, but Wright State pulled within 49-42 on Basile’s three-point play with 16:38 left in the contest.

Basile scored on the inside to keep the Pirates within eight with 15:16 to go, before the Wildcats scored the next 12 points. Koloko capped the burst with two free throws to make it 64-44 with 11:37 remaining.

That surge squashed any chance of Wright State making it a game down the stretch. Arizona’s lead topped out at 21 points.

Calvin kept the Pirates in range with his 14-point first half, which ended with the Wildcats leading 42-31.

Arizona started fast and held a 21-7 advantage after a 3-pointer by Larsson with 13:22 left.

Wright State cut its deficit to 23-15 on a 3-pointer by Calvin with 10:58 remaining. The Wildcats went on another surge to increase their lead to 16 but missed their final six shots while going scoreless over the final 3:50 of the half.

“I think they were fine,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said of his players to truTV. “Wright State is a good team and they have a lot of pride and they have no quit in them. We had them on the ropes a couple times and they battled back.”

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