No. 3 Arizona gets another blowout, beating California 96-71

Jan 23, 2022, 12:11 AM | Updated: 3:20 pm
Arizona guard Dalen Terry (4) shoots a 3-pointer over California forward Grant Anticevich (15) duri...

Arizona guard Dalen Terry (4) shoots a 3-pointer over California forward Grant Anticevich (15) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Berkeley, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Christian Koloko had 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks to lead No. 3 Arizona past California 96-71 on Sunday afternoon.

Bennedict Mathurin added 14 points and eight rebounds for Arizona (16-1, 6-0 Pac-12), while Oumar Ballo scored 14 and Kerr Krissa had 13 with four 3-pointers.

The Wildcats are off to their best start since winning 21 straight to open the 2013-14 season. This season’s only loss came against then-No. 19 Tennessee on Dec. 22.

“It’s what you hope for on the road, that you come out and, from start to finish, your team is solid and they execute the plan,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd. “We did a really good job of dictating what they were doing on the offensive end, and then on our end of the floor getting into our movement.”

Arizona won handily despite being without second-leading scorer Azuolas Tubelis, who suffered a lower-body injury Thursday against Stanford. It hardly mattered.

The Wildcats had a 14-point lead six minutes into the game, were ahead 21 at halftime and led by 29 on the way to their 10th consecutive win over the Bears.

Up next for Arizona: Its toughest stretch of the season, with two upcoming games against No. 9 UCLA and another against No. 16 USC. Justin Kier, who had 10 points and six rebounds on Sunday, said all the Wildcats have to do is “go play our game.”

“If you look too deep into these games, that’s where you go out and try to do things that you’re not supposed to do,” Kier said. “We’re not going to change up anything.”

Jordan Shepherd scored 21 points for the Golden Bears (9-10, 2-6).

California coach Mark Fox was ejected in the first half after picking up two technical fouls. At one point, a clearly angry Fox walked onto the court and yelled toward a referee before an assistant walked Fox back to the bench.

“My frustration wasn’t just about tonight. My frustration was (about) some things that built up to it,” Fox said. “The official decided, like in third grade, to instigate a staring contest and, like in third grade, I took the bait and got my second technical and put our team in a tough spot.”

Cal made its best push coming out of halftime and got within 56-40, but Kriisa made a pair of 3s and Arizona scored 13 straight to pull away.

Kriisa’s fourth 3-pointer put the Wildcats ahead 78-49.

With a small but vocal group of Arizona fans in Haas Pavilion, the Wildcats went on runs of 17-3 and 15-3 in the first half on their way to a fifth consecutive blowout.

Mathurin provided a bulk of the early scoring against the Pac-12’s top scoring defense but it was the Wildcats’ big tandem of Koloko and Ballo that did the most damage. The two 7-footers combined for 20 points and eight rebounds in the first half to help Arizona go up 48-27.

“I’ve been working with Oumar every day after practice,” Koloko said. “We’ve got some connection. It’s great to see him play the way he played today and the way he played against Stanford.”

BIG PICTURE

Arizona: With Gonzaga and Auburn both idle, there’s little chance the Cats will move up in the rankings — but another lopsided victory for Tommy Lloyd’s team put them in good position heading into their toughest stretch of the Pac-12 schedule. Three of the next four games are against Top 25 teams (two against No. 9 UCLA), with the other against rival Arizona State. Arizona’s only scare Sunday came when Kier took a hard fall in the first half and had to be helped to the locker room. He returned in the second half.

California: Whatever momentum the Bears built in the early season has been erased by their fifth straight loss. Fox’s ejection was understandable. Cal missed 10 of its first 12 shots and trailed by 24 when he got tossed. The Bears haven’t beaten a Top 5 team since 2014 when they defeated No. 1 Arizona.

UP NEXT

Arizona: At No. 9 UCLA on Tuesday.

California: At No. 9 UCLA on Thursday.

__

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona Coyotes forward Barrett Hayton, left, collides with Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg...
Associated Press

Drop the puck: What to know about the 2022-23 NHL season

The NHL is back to normal with the regular season stretching from October through the middle of April before the two-month thrill ride that is the chase for the Stanley Cup. Over that time, teams are scheduled to play a total of 1,312 games over 189 days, starting with Nashville and San Jose facing off […]
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) battle for t...
Associated Press

LeBron in Vegas? He makes an expansion pitch to Adam Silver

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James came to Las Vegas for a preseason game. And a pitch. James, who has spoken in the past about wanting to eventually own an NBA franchise — with Las Vegas on his mind — sent a crystal-clear message to Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday night, reminding him of his […]
1 day ago
FILE - Dallas Stars' Jason Robertson skates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against t...
Associated Press

Stars sign 41-goal scorer Robertson to $31M, 4-year deal

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Jason Robertson has signed a $31 million, four-year contract with the Dallas Stars after the young 40-goal scorer missed the first two weeks of training camp. The Stars announced the deal late Wednesday night, after their exhibition game in Denver, only a week before the regular season opener Oct. 13 at […]
1 day ago
The ski slopes are almost devoid of snow at the Tūroa ski field, on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand on Se...
Associated Press

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TUROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Turoa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it’s largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders. The ski area was […]
1 day ago
FILE - Kansas City Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred in the seventh inning of a baseball game, May 1...
Associated Press

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians. The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) blocks a shot by Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25...
Associated Press

James scores 23 points, but not enough as Suns defeat Lakers

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James flashed his midseason form Wednesday night, scoring 23 points in 18 minutes before the Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Lakers 112-115. James, who missed all seven of his shots in Los Angeles’ loss to Sacramento on Monday, was much more aggressive with the Lakers playing without Anthony Davis. […]
1 day ago
No. 3 Arizona gets another blowout, beating California 96-71