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Kerr Kriisa pours in 24 as No. 14 Arizona thrashes Utah Tech

Sportsnaut
Nov 17, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; University of Arizona Wildcats guard Pelle Larsson (3) goes up for a shot against Utah Tech guard Noa Gonsalves (11) in the first half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: David Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Kerr Kriisa scored a career-high 24 points and all five starters finished in double figures as No. 14 Arizona continued its hot start to the season with a 104-77 victory over Utah Tech on Thursday night in Tucson, Ariz.

The Wildcats (3-0) shot 63.6 percent from the field and set a school record for most free-throw attempts without a miss, going 22 of 22.

Arizona, averaging 105.3 points through three games, dominated the Trailblazers (1-3) with the help of frontcourt duo Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo, who took advantage of their size advantage in the paint. Tubelis had 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, to go with eight rebounds and five assists. Ballo recorded 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Kriisa, a game after posting his second career triple-double, also had five assists and four rebounds. All of the junior’s shooting came from behind the arc, where he made 6 of 7 attempts.

Utah Tech was led by Noa Gonsalves, who scored 13 points. Dancell Leter, Frank Staine and Cameron Gooden added 12 apiece, and Trey Edmonds contributed 11.

Other Arizona staters in double figures were Cedric Henderson (18 points) and Pelle Larsson (14). The Wildcats didn’t get a point off the bench until Adama Bal made two free throws with 5:44 left for a 90-59 lead.

Arizona led by 28 points at halftime and then made its first five shots of the second half to go up 60-26. The Wildcats cooled off a bit from there, and Utah Tech trimmed the lead to 23 points with 8:41 left, but the outcome was never in doubt.

The Trailblazers scored the game’s first four points, but the Wildcats were off and running after that, ripping off a 20-2 run in which it made four 3-pointers. It was much of the same the rest of the half, with Arizona moving ahead by 30 points with three seconds left before going into the break leading 49-21.

Arizona, which also has victories over Nicholls and Southern, will get sterner tests next week at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, starting Monday against Cincinnati. Utah Tech travels to oppose Idaho on Saturday.

–Field Level Media