Arizona Basketball

Arizona escapes with win over Wichita State, 82-78

When is sloppy good good enough?

When you win, of course. And Arizona won, stepping up in class of opponent on Friday night in Las Vegas.

Arizona defeated Wichita State, 82-78, in the Main Event at T-Mobile Arena.

“High-level basketball is not always a thing of beauty,” Tommy Lloyd said in a press conference to reporters at the site. “It can be a rock fight, and that’s exactly what it was today. They’re scrappy and (we had) 22 turnovers and we’ve got to tighten up our fundamentals.

“But in a game situation, you don’t have time to do breakdown drills. You’ve got to get on to the next play and respond. And I thought our guys did an awesome job of responding to a lot of difficult situations.”

Arizona was good, then sloppy, then just good enough to win its fourth game under new coach Tommy Lloyd.

It took overtime for Arizona – despite having a 15-point lead in the second half. But, it was able to gut out the win and will now face the UNLV-Michigan winner.

UA graphic

In overtime, Arizona started with a 9-0 run lead but then – again – had to hold on to get the win.

Ben Mathurin, who had struggled a bit to start the season, had a team-high 25 points. He added 10 rebounds. Christian Koloko had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Lost – or not lost – in the win was the 22 turnovers Arizona had to help keep Wichita State in the game. It also hit just five of 27 3-pointers. And Arizona shot just 40 percent for the game.

Sloppy indeed.

Then again, Wichita State isn’t Northern Arizona, North Dakota State or Rio Grande Valley.

Arizona held a 40-33 at the half and then extended its lead to 16 points before the Shockers gained their footing and came back.

Most importantly, Arizona passed its first true test and will have an even bigger one on Sunday night.

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