Mark Lyons, the hero in Arizona’s come-from-behind victory over fifth-ranked Florida last Saturday scored 17 points and dished out seven assists in an encore performance as Arizona raced past Oral Roberts at home Tuesday.
Summer workouts and conditioning are paying off for Solomon Hill and the Arizona Wildcats.
Arizona (9-0, 7-0 home) remained perfect on the season by opening the second half on an 11-0 scoring run to push its 14-point halftime advantage to 56-31 on a 3-Pointer by Grant Jerrett.
Jerrett scored a career-high 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting while fellow freshman forward Brandon Ashley added 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
Oral Roberts (5-5, 3-2 away) were no match for fourth-ranked Arizona. Playing without their 7-foot center who has been sidelined with a foot injury, the Golden Eagles were outrebounded by nine boards and shot just 38.3 percent (23-for-60) from the floor. Meanwhile, Arizona was red hot from the floor, connecting on 34-of-59 field goals (57.6%), which included eight makes on 16 attempts from behind the three-point arc.
The Wildcats led 10-2 early and were never truly threatened in the game. A trey by Lyons with 2:12 to play in the opening frame gave Arizona its largest lead of the half at 39-22. Warren Niles, who finished with a game-high 22 points, responded with a 3-Pointer of his own seconds later. However, it was the first field goal of the game for ORU’s leading scorer as Niles shot just 2-for-9 from the field in the first half.
Leading 45-31, the Wildcats forced back-to-back turnovers on ORU’s first two possessions after intermission. Arizona turned those turnovers into points, first an off-balance jumper by Solomon Hill in the key and then a lay-in by Ashley off a Hill assist. Arizona continued its scoring run with a low-post scoring move by Jerrett, an inbounds alley oop play from Hill to Ashley, and then a trey by Jerrett to push Arizona’s advantage to 25 points.
Hill was a stat-sheet filler against ORU. The senior finished with 12 points, six rebounds, six steals and five assists. Similarly, sophomore shooting guard contributed 12 points, four steals, three rebounds and three assists.
The Golden Eagles did not score their first basket of the second half until the 16:26 mark. ORU’s struggles continued as the Wildcats maintained a 20-plus scoring advantage most of the way until closing strong to finish off ORU, 89-64.
The Arizona freshmen were impressive as Jerrett, Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski combined to make 15-of-18 field goals. Gabe York, Arizona’s fourth freshman in the Class of 2012, also saw action for the first time in the last four games. York had an assist and then capped the rout with a high-flying alley-oop dunk in the final minute of action.
Next Up: Arizona travels to Honolulu, Hawaii to compete in the Diamond Head Classic where a potential championship game with No. 18 San Diego State awaits. First up though is a first-round tilt with East Tennessee State on Dec. 22. Tip time is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MST.
Follow me on Twitter @GaryRandazzo, and follow the website @WSRArizona.
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