Arizona sophomore guard Brandon Randolph fueled the start of a pivotal second half rally, and the Wildcats made a season-high 12 shots from 3-point range in an 80-69 win over Utah Valley on Thursday night at Tucson, Ariz.
After Utah Valley (6-4) built a 41-29 lead at halftime by taking advantage of Arizona’s 11 turnovers in the half (outscoring the Wildcats 19-5 in points off turnovers at that point), Arizona (7-2) came back by scoring the first 11 points of the second half.
Nine of those points came on three 3-point shots by Randolph to cut the lead to 41-40 with 18:06 left in regulation. Randolph finished with a team-high 16 points, 14 coming in the second half.
Another 3-pointer by Randolph with 16:49 left in the second half put Arizona ahead 45-43. It was the Wildcats’ first lead since 12:54 left in the first half.
Utah Valley would respond to Arizona’s charge by taking a 55-50 lead with 10:49 left following two free throws by Conner Toolson.
Arizona then had seven unanswered points to take a 57-55 capped by a layup by Brandon Williams with 8:49 left.
The Wildcats led by only 63-60 with 6:43 remaining before they pulled away for good on a 13-2 run, taking a 76-62 lead with 2:48 left in the game. Dylan Smith and Ryan Luther each had a couple of layups off fast breaks in that stretch.
Williams, a freshman guard, had 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Arizona. Senior guard Justin Coleman, a graduate transfer from Samford added 15 points with 8-of-8 shooting from the free-throw line. Smith added 13 points.
Jake Toolson had 20 points and eight rebounds for Utah Valley, whose five-game winning streak was snapped. Conner Toolson added 13 points, and TJ Washington had 11 points before fouling out late in the game.
The victory increased Arizona’s winning streak to 52 games over nonconference opponents at McKale Center.
Arizona next plays at Alabama on Sunday. Utah Valley travels Saturday to play at Northern Arizona.
—Field Level Media