No. 3 Arizona sprints past Oregon State in second half to win 83-69
At the halftime break, the best team in the Pac-12 had the slimmest of two-point leads over the worst team in the Pac-12.
The Oregon State Beavers hit six triples in the first half and turned it over only three times. Arizona dominated the painted area and controlled the boards as Arizona has done all season, but that 3-point shooting was the leveler. Arizona was just 2-for-8 from beyond the arc while Oregon State got balanced scoring and perimeter shooting from just about everyone.
Whatever Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd said at halftime stuck, and Arizona was a different team after the intermission. The Wildcats turned a 44-42 lead into a 63-49 lead in about five minutes and never looked back. The Cats walked out of McKale Center with an 83-69 win and their 23rd victory of the season.
That 3-point shooting from the first half dried up in the second as UA overwhelmed the Beavers with their defensive length. After shooting 46% in the first half, Oregon State was down at 32% in the second; buckets from the Beavers were matched with stretches from the Wildcats.
A Jarod Lucas jumper inside with 14:02 to play was met with a 6-0 Arizona spurt of layups and dunks.
A Dashawn Davis jumper with 9:31 to go was met with another 6-0 Arizona spurt, capped by a 3-pointer from UA’s Bennedict Mathurin to put the Cats up 22 with 8:28 to play. To that point in the second half, Arizona had outscored Oregon State 31-11.
Oregon State closed the game on an 11-2 run to make the margin look a bit more respectable, but this was a 23-point game with four minutes to play. The good news for Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle is that his crew didn’t let go of the rope down big.
Mathurin finished with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Azuolas Tubelis scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting. He was also 6-for-6 from the foul line, adding seven boards and three assists. Christian Koloko had his best scoring game in nearly a month, going for 16 points (8-11 FG) and nine boards. Arizona shot 52% from the field as a team.
Everyone who played for the Beavers scored, and no one had fewer than seven points. Lucas and Roman Silva were the high men with 13 points apiece. Maurice Calloo added 10 points and eight boards. Davis, who finished with nine points, struggled with his shot but dished out seven assists.
The Cats (23-2, 13-1 Pac-12) close out the Oregon homestand against the Ducks on Saturday, a game that will be featured on ESPN’s College GameDay. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. PT.
Oregon State (3-21, 1-13 Pac-12) head to Tempe to face Arizona State on Saturday, with tip set for 5 p.m. PT.