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Kriisa: Arizona’s Swaggy Three buries Utah in first half; gets Arizona’s 10th triple-double in history

What can’t Kerr Kriisa do?

He did everything Thursday night. And he turned off the lights on the host Utes, too.

For at least one game, Kerr had a game of a lifetime, getting Arizona’s 10th all-time triple-double. He finished with 21 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in Arizona’s 97-77 win in Salt Lake City.

Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd was so aware of the possible feat – Kerr was out of the lineup for a second – that he put him back in to get the one rebound he lacked to complete the triple.

When he ended up getting a rebound in the game’s final minute, Kerr raised his arms in triumph. The last triple-double by a UA player was in 2004 by Andre Iguodala.

Arizona’s Kerr Kriisa hit seven 3s on Thursday night in Salt Lake City. (Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics)

“Let me first say I never play for stats,” Kerr told reporters in Salt Lake City. “But this was a first when they showed points, rebounds and assists (on the scoreboard) and when I saw that I was really close I thought I was going to go for it. I got to give a lot of credit to my teammates. I asked Coach Tommy Lloyd to put me back in and thankfully he did.”

Lloyd was okay he did, although he said it wasn’t his style to chase stats like that.

“It was a triple double on Estonian Independence Day, nonetheless,” Lloyd said, referring to Kerr’s home country, on his postgame radio show. “So, it’s a pretty cool day for him. That’s why we put him back in the game at the end. That’s usually not my style but he got his triple double and now he’s going to owe me a lot for putting him back in the game and getting that one rebound.

“I thought Kerr’s never going to have another chance to do this in his career. I don’t know if he’s had 10 rebounds in his last 10 games. For him to pull off that feat is pretty special.”

In the process, Arizona made quick and easy work with Utah. Arizona has now beaten opponents by double digits 21 times this season.

It was a Kerr 3-point fest in the first half and a dunkathon throughout for the Cats. It was that easy on Thursday. Arizona had eight dunks in the blowout.

Arizona made easy work of Utah as it moved to 25-2 overall and 15-1 in the Pac-12 Conference.

Arizona jumped out early – something that hadn’t happened in some time – then Utah stormed back before Arizona took control late in the first half. It never looked back as Kerr got on a shooting spree for the ages, hitting seven 3-pointers to help Arizona to a 53-33 lead at the half. His sharp shooting included a half-court buzzer beater.

Arizona closed out the half with a 12-2 run. And it was all but over.

“We probably had a couple of those 10-0 runs and I know those help you get a gap,” Lloyd said. “Once you get a bit of separation it obviously gives you a better chance of winning. I was happy how we started. I’ve been in a lot of these games where you go up eight on the road and feeling good then down eight to 10 (points) at the half. … I had that feeling for a little bit then our guys hung steady and were able to throw a few haymakers to give us that lead going into the half.”

The biggest haymaker was that halfcourt bomb to end the scoring at the half.

“I keep telling Kerr, ‘Kerr have one of those days … there’s nothing wrong with having one of those days as a shooter. I want him hunting shots. I want to hunt good threes. I want our guys looking for him. I didn’t even realize … I thought he made three or four threes. I didn’t realize he made seven, but I’ll take it.”

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