Cats rally in sec­ond half to put away Utah Val­ley

The Arizona Republic - - Sports - Jack Ma­gruder THURS­DAY: ARI­ZONA 80, UTAH VAL­LEY 69 FG FT Reb Min M-A M-A O-T Steele 21 3-3 2-5 1-5 C.Tool­son 34 4-11 2-3 0-3 J.Tool­son 32 6-11 7-7 2-8 Washington 23 4-12 1-1 0-0 White 25 1-4 3-4 2-4 Nak­waasah 29 3-7 1-2 0-1 Mac­Dougall 19 2-4 1-2 1-1

TUC­SON – As each 3-pointer dropped, Bran­don Ran­dolph seemed to grow more demon­stra­tive and more will­ing to test his range.

By the time Ran­dolph drained his fourth 3-pointer in the first two min­utes of the sec­ond half, the Wild­cats had over­come a 12-point half­time deficit and were on the way to a 51-point sec­ond half and an 80-69 vic­tory over Utah Val­ley on Tues­day at McKale Cen­ter.

“We re­ally moved the ball, and we had a player go un­con­scious,” Ari­zona coach Sean Miller said. “A lot of times I like to say ‘Aw, we did this.’ He came off screens and hit the shot. And they all mat­tered, ev­ery one of them.”

Ran­dolph had 14 of his 16 points in the sec­ond half, his last three com­ing from about 26 feet out on the left wing, and fresh­man guard Bran­don Wil­liams had his first dou­ble-dou­ble for the Wild­cats, who won their 52nd straight non­con­fer­ence home game.

“I haven’t seen any­body do that for us in McKale since Gabe York in his se­nior day at Stan­ford,” said Miller, re­fer­ring to York’s nine threes on March 5, 2016. “Those were four big, big shots. He gave every­body con­fi­dence.”

Wil­liams had 15 points and a ca­reer­high 10 re­bounds and added five as­sists for the Wild­cats.

“That wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily the mind­set,” Ran­dolph said of his 3-point spree. “It was just that we were run­ning plays, I def­i­nitely got go­ing and my team­mates found me. It hyped me up and it hyped the crowd up. Hyped our team up.”

The Wild­cats, who trailed 41-29 at half­time, pulled away by shoot­ing 61 per­cent in the sec­ond half. They were 8 of 14 from 3-point range in the sec­ond half.

Jake Tool­son had 20 points and eight re­bounds, brother Con­ner Tool­son had 13 points and TJ Washington scored 11 for the Wolver­ines, who were the Wild­cats’ 36th straight non­con­fer­ence vic­tim in the team’s only other meeting in De­cem­ber, 2014.

Ari­zona has not lost at home since San Diego State took a 61-57 vic­tory on Nov. 23, 2011.

Justin Cole­man added 15 points for Ari­zona, which had a 36-26 re­bound­ing edge.

“Bran­don Ran­dolph stepped up and hit four straight threes, some re­ally, re­ally hard shots,” Utah Val­ley coach Mark Pope said. “They turned up the in­ten­sity (in the sec­ond half), and when they tuned up to an­other level, the ball got sticky for us, and that’s our Achilles heel.”

Utah Val­ley shot 7 of 22 from the field in the sec­ond half.

Wil­liams, a 6-foot-2 guard, had seven of his 10 re­bounds in the first half. He had 16 re­bounds in the first eight games of the sea­son.

“Any­thing I can do to help those bigs, take some load off them,” Wil­liams said. “That’s how I play, just ag­gres­sive. I was shocked when they told me I had a dou­ble-dou­ble. As a guard, that goes a long way.”

Cole­man and Wil­liams made 3point­ers as Ari­zona took an 18-11 lead five min­utes into the game be­fore the Wolver­ines went on a 9-0 run that grew to 21-4 for a 32-22 ad­van­tage.

Washington had two 3-point­ers and Jake Tool­son had a 3-pointer and two free throws in that run, while Ari­zona made only one field goal in a 9-minute, 55-sec­ond span. Utah Val­ley took its big­gest lead, 41-29, at half­time. Ari­zona shot 38.5 per­cent from the field in the first half.

Up next

Ari­zona: The sched­ule stiff­ens shortly – the Wild­cats play at Alabama on Sun­day be­fore re­turn­ing home to host Bay­lor on Dec. 15.

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