Arizona Basketball

No. 14 Arizona routs Utah Tech ahead of Maui Invitational

Arizona celebrates its 3-0 start behind school-record performances shooting from the field and the free-throw line through the first three games (Arizona Athletics photo)

Arizona said “aloha” to Utah Tech as it heads off to the Maui Invitational by throttling the Trailblazers 104-77 — including a 22-of-22 performance at the free-throw line — on Thursday night at McKale Center.

The perfect night of free throws breaks a school record for the most made at 100 percent. The previous mark was 18 of 18 against Stanford on Feb. 5, 2005 in a 90-72 win at McKale Center.

“If you take some extra reps they actually go in more often,” said Kerr Kriisa, who made all six of his attempts at the free-throw line and finished with a game-high 24 points.

The No. 14 Wildcats (3-0) shot 63.6 percent from the field coming off a school-record 71.7 percent showing against Nicholls followed by a 54.5 percent clip against Southern.

Through the first three games, Tommy Lloyd’s team is averaging 105.3 points while shooting 63.2 percent from the field, including 46.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Arizona will first play Cincinnati (3-1) in the Maui Classic on Monday at 9:30 p.m.

San Diego State and Ohio State are in the Wildcats’ bracket. Also competing are Texas Tech, Creighton, Louisville and Arkansas.

The Wildcats will have Texas graduate transfer Courtney Ramey play with them for the first time when they play Cincinnati. Ramey served a three-game NCAA suspension to begin the season as a result of playing in the Portsmouth Invitational last year. He averaged 9.9 points a game last season at Texas.

Lloyd has talked about the possibility of starting Ramey in Maui.

“I have to remind myself we’re adding a really good player to the mix,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd will potentially go with a smaller starting lineup adding Ramey and having Cedric Henderson Jr. be one of his first reserves used off the bench. Henderson, a forward, has started the first three games and is averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds.

The Wildcats have also started Kriisa, Pelle Larrson, Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Bello in the first three games.

All five of the starters finished in double-figure scoring against the WAC’s Utah Tech (1-3).

Kriisa went 6-of-7 from the field, all from 3-point range. He also had four rebounds and five assists.

This follows his second career triple-double in the win over Southern (14 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds).

Tubelis made 9-of-11 shots from the field and finished with 20 points. He is staking an early claim to Pac-12 Player of the Year, leading the Wildcats with 20 points a game while shooting 78.1 percent from the field (25 of 32).

Ballo, who is shooting 72.7 percent (16 of 22) from the field, finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Henderson was 7-of-10 from the field en route to 18 points and Larrson made all seven of his shots inside the 3-point line (0 of 4 from beyond it) and finished with 14 points and six assists.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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