Dec. 23, 2012
HONOLULU (AP) - Brandon Ashley had 16 points and No. 4 Arizona had no trouble staying unbeaten Saturday, scoring the first 11 points of the game to beat East Tennessee State 73-53 and ease into the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic.
This was a mismatch from the start, with Ashley starting the 11-0 run with a short jumper and finishing it with a three-point play in transition.
The Wildcats (10-0) won for the sixth time by 20 points or more this season.
East Tennessee, which trailed by double figures six minutes into the game, tried to stay competitive in the second half. The Bucs (2-8) got within 44-30 behind Jarvis Jones with 13:17 left in the game. Arizona went on a 15-3 run and stretched the lead to as many as 30 points before playing its reserves the rest of the way.
The Wildcats had 10 players score, which was one more player than the Bucs suited up for this holiday tournament.
Jones was all the Bucs had going for them in the second half. He scored 13 of their 19 points at one stretch and finished with a game-high 21 points.
Arizona faced the winner of the Hawaii-Miami game in the semifinals on Sunday.
Ashley also led the Wildcats with 10 rebounds as they had a 46-27 advantage on the boards, no surprise given their superior size, strength and skill. The Bucs had to work for everything and shot just 31 percent from the field.
The Bucs never had a chance from the start. They missed their first five shots and didn't score until nearly four minutes into the game when Jones hit a jumper from the wing.
After Lester Wilson made a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 18-8, the Bucs went seven minutes without scoring.
The Wildcats were relentless, scoring easily in transition or moving the ball at a frenetic pace when they set up the offense against East Tennessee State's zone.
Defensively, they got their hands on the ball on just about every possession.
John Walton converted a three-point play for the Bucs to make it 13-5, but that was the last time they were within double figures. Lyons hit a 3-pointer, Ashley scored inside and Nick Johnson dazzled with a 360-degree dunk in transition that brought the fans in the half-empty Stan Sheriff Center to their feet.
Arizona went cold or the game really could have been out of hand. After his dunk, they went nearly five minutes without scoring when Johnson made a pair of free throws.
Arizona and San Diego State (No. 18) are the only ranked teams in the Diamond Head Classic, and that might be the only true test for the Wildcats.