Chase Jeter and Brandon Randolph nearly outscored cold-shooting Montana on their own in Arizona’s 61-42 victory on Wednesday night in Tucson, as the Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak.
Jeter finished with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. Randolph made 5 of 9 shots from the field to finish with 15 points.
Arizona (8-4) had lost its previous games against Alabama and Baylor. In the loss to the Bears on Saturday — snapping a 52-game winning streak against nonconference opponents at McKale Center — the Wildcats were outrebounded 51-19.
Arizona won the battle on the boards against Montana 40-30. Four players shared the team lead with six rebounds — Jeter, Emmanuel Akot, Ryan Luther and Ira Lee.
The rebounding and Arizona’s 50 percent shooting in the second half were critical because the Wildcats committed 16 turnovers with only 10 assists.
The Grizzlies, who made only 26.9 percent of their shots, including 21.7 percent from 3-point range, were led by Ahmaad Rorie’s 19 points. He made 7 of 15 shots from the field while his teammates made only 7 of 37.
The 42-point total is a season low for the Grizzlies, well below the 51 points they scored in a 60-51 loss at UC Irvine on Dec. 8.
Arizona’s defense held Montana to 26.1 percent shooting from the field in the first half as the Wildcats built a 22-15 lead at the half.
Jeter almost matched Montana’s made field goal total in the first half. Jeter made 5 of 9 shots to lead all scorers with 11 points at the half. The Grizzlies made only 6 of 23 shots in the first half.
The Grizzlies continued their poor shooting in the second half, allowing Arizona to build a 38-21 lead with 13:18 left in regulation. They missed nine consecutive shots after making two straight 3-pointers to start the half.
Montana would not get closer than 12 points afterward.
Arizona next hosts UC Davis on Saturday in its last nonconference game of the season. Montana travels to South Dakota State on Saturday to wrap up its nonconference schedule before starting Big Sky play.
—Field Level Media