January 17, 2020 / 3:43 AM / a month ago

Nnaji, Hazzard help Arizona blow out Utah

Zeke Nnaji scored 24 points and grad transfer Max Hazzard matched that output while setting his career high at Arizona as the Wildcats routed Utah 93-77 on Thursday night in Tucson, Ariz.

Jan 16, 2020; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Utah Utes forward Timmy Allen (1) shoots against Arizona Wildcats guard Josh Green (0) in the first half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats, who dropped out of the AP poll this week for the first time this season, snapped a two-game losing streak. Arizona (12-5, 2-2 Pac-12) had lost five of its past seven games.

Nnaji, a freshman post player, made 9 of 12 shots from the field — including his second 3-pointer of the season — and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.

Hazzard, a guard who helped UC Irvine win an NCAA Tournament game last season, came off the bench to pour in 14 points in the first half to tie his scoring high at Arizona. He finished 6 of 10 from 3-point range and reached 1,000 career points.

Utah (10-6, 1-3) lost its third consecutive game and dropped to 0-8 in Tucson since joining the Pac-12.

Riley Battin and Timmy Allen each scored 16 to lead the Utes. Allen entered as the Pac-12’s leading scorer at 20.2 points per game.

Arizona led by 24 at halftime, and the outcome was never in doubt in the second half, despite an 8-0 run by Utah that cut the deficit to 57-38 with 16:38 left. Nico Mannion responded with a 3-pointer, and Arizona’s lead never dipped below 17 until the final minute.

Dylan Smith contributed 12 points and six assists for Arizona. Mannion had 11 points and five assists.

Arizona played without starting center Chase Jeter (8.1 points, 5.3 rebounds per game), who is considered day-to-day because of back spasms. That didn’t prevent the Wildcats from getting off to a fast start, going up 14-6 on Hazzard’s first 3-pointer after 5 1/2 minutes.

His basket with 11:41 to go in the half gave Arizona its first double-digit lead at 22-11, and the Wildcats’ hot shooting pushed the lead to 14 on Hazzard’s fourth triple of the half. Arizona shot 54.1 percent overall — 8 of 14 from 3-point range — in the first half and took a 52-28 lead into he locker room.

Arizona’s Stone Gettings, a graduate transfer from Cornell, made his first start for the Wildcats in place of Jeter. He scored seven points in 28 minutes.

—Field Level Media

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