TUCSON--Arizona's trio of forwards each scored more than 20 points to pace Arizona's high-scoring attack to a 102-87 victory over a quick New Mexico State Aggies club in a fast-paced game Sunday afternoon in McKale Center.
The Cats had to fight down the stretch, with NMSU erasing a 20-point Arizona lead in the second half and closing to within five, 87-82, on Ted Knauber's three-pointer with less than four minutes left. The game looked in doubt until Chase Budinger's offensive rebound and put-back with two minutes to go gave UA a 94-85 lead. Then Mustafa Shakur hit a pair of free throws a few moments later to give UA some breathing room.
Ivan Radenovic led all scorers with 25 points on 10 for 13 shooting, Jawann McClellan hit all seven of his three pointers to net 22 and Marcus Williams put up 20 including the slam dunk that put UA in triple digits.
UA had all five starters in double figures, with Budinger adding 19 and Shakur 15. Shakur had nine assists and scored nine of his points from the free throw line.
Arizona work on the boards was a key, with the Cats posting a 41-26 edge. The 100 points was UA's second consecutive over the century mark following Wednesday's 101-79 victory against Northern Arizona.
New Mexico State had plenty of scoring balance, too, with six players in double figures led by Fred Peete's 18 points.
Radenovic scored six quick points in the second half to kick UA's lead to 18 points, 59-41, and then Mustafa Shakur fed Chase Budinger on a breakaway to get inside and get to the line for two more to push the lead to 20 after five minutes of play.
But the Aggies and Peete, who hit only two of 10 shots in the first half, kept chipping away and hitting key shots to close the gap and keep it close. Peete drained three three-pointers in the beginning of the comeback.
The Wildcats outrebounded the Aggies by a 29-6 margin at halftime with 15 of those coming at the offensive end of the floor.
Arizona led by 14 at the break, but might have held a wider margin if not for some persistent play by the Aggies.
The Cats used a 21-0 run from the 16-minute mark to the 9:05 point of the first half to blow open the game early, stretching a one-point lead to 30-8. The Cats spread the wealth around, with McClellan hitting five of six shots -- all five from behind the line -- for 15 points. Radenovic took care of the inside scoring with six buckets on nine shots for 13 points at the half, while Williams put up 11.
New Mexico State ended the drought with a layup by Jonathan Gibson to stop the charge, then went on its own 23-12 splurge to trim the lead before Williams hit the final bucket of the half for a 47-33 halftime lead.