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December 1, 2012

No. 9 Arizona dominates paint, Texas Tech



Arizona sophomore guard Nick Johnson scored a season-high 18 points Saturday to lead the ninth-ranked Wildcats in an 85-57 blowout win over host Texas Tech.

Playing in their first road contest this season, the Wildcats (5-0) took a 17-point halftime lead and extended it to as many as 25 with just under 16 minutes to play.

But the Red Raiders (4-1) exploded with a 14-2 burst over the next 2:50 - capped by a Daylen Robinson 3-pointer - to cut the deficit to 55-42.

But UA's size proved to be too much for Texas Tech, which shot just 34.9 percent and got outrebounded, 41-26. After starting the game at a breakneck pace, the Wildcats asserted themselves around the rim and dominated the points in the paint, 44-28.

The 'Cats shot 56.6 percent - including 15 of 24 after halftime - and finished 8 of 22 from beyond the arc. Johnson made 7 of 11 shots, added five rebounds and two steals, and he was one of four Wildcats to score in double figures.

Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill, who entered the contest as the team's co-leading scorers, finished at their season average with 14 apiece. Freshman forward Grant Jerrett chipped in 11 off the bench.

Redshirt junior forward Jaye Crockett paced Texas Tech with 12 points off the bench.

A meeting between two of the top-seven scoring teams in the nation lived up to the billing at the start. Both teams came out at a frenetic pace, combining to connect on 10 of the first 17 shots in the contest.

But while the Red Raiders cooled off shortly after, the 'Cats continued the hot shooting from 3-point range that buried Northern Arizona three nights ago.

Arizona used a 10-2 run to go up 21-13 and create separation. Then, a Hill 3-pointer - one of six by the Wildcats in the half - extended the advantage to 30-18 at the 8:25 mark.

Miller said leading up to the game that he wanted his veterans to lead the way in his team's first road contest. While they set the tone, UA freshmen Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley and Jerrett combined for 16 points in the half, led by Jerrett's eight off the bench.

Their contributions helped push the first-half lead to as many as 19, and the Wildcats took a 45-28 lead into the break.

But Tarczewski's rebounding helped Arizona slow down Texas Tech in the second half. The 7-footer pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.

The Red Raiders were held well below their nation-leading 88.8 point-per-game scoring average.

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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