Arizona showed again Thursday night why many believe the No. 2-ranked Wildcats can win it all this year. Azuolas Tubelis scored a game-high 23 points and Kerr Kriisa recorded a triple-double as Arizona pounded Utah 97-77 at the Huntsman Center.
Kriisa scored all 21 of his points in the first half and played the maestro in the second half, finishing with 10 assists and 10 rebounds. He was inserted back into the game with one minute, 57 seconds remaining to get the final rebound.
The loss snapped Utah’s two-game winning streak, and came after Arizona won 82-64 in Tucson on Jan. 15. Arizona (25-2, 15-1) clinched at least a share of the Pac-12 championship with the blowout win.
Here are 3 keys to Arizona’s win:
• Utah led 28-27 with six minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the first half, but then the wheels came off for the Utes — and Kerr Kriisa got white-hot. He made six 3-pointers in the half’s final six minutes to give the Wildcats a 53-33 lead at the break.
• Having ended the first half on a 26-5 run, the Wildcats picked up where they left off in the second half, going on a 9-0 run to pretty much put the game out of reach.
• Having rolled his ankle in Utah’s 60-58 win over Cal last Saturday, Branden Carlson started for the Utes and logged 21 minutes, scoring 10 points. Gabe Madsen led Utah with 15 points, while David Jenkins Jr. added 14 off the bench in his best game in quite some time.
Utah fell to 11-17 overall, 4-14 in Pac-12 play, and will host Arizona State on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.