Field Level Media
Dec 13, 2022
Azuolas Tubelis had 20 points and 13 rebounds as No. 9 Arizona played without starting point guard Kerr Kriisa for most of the game in a 99-61 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday night in Tucson, Ariz.
Tubelis, a junior, posted his fourth consecutive game with at least 20 points and became the 53rd player in school history to score 1,000 career points. He also had four assists and three steals for the Wildcats (9-1), who won their 24th consecutive game at McKale Center.
Kriisa exited the game at the first media timeout and did not return. He was not on the bench for the remainder of the game, with the school reporting that he was suffering from a non-COVID-19 illness. His status for Saturday's home showdown against No. 6 Tennessee was not immediately known.
Simeon Fryer scored 12 points to lead the Islanders (5-5), who were outrebounded by 20 and didn't have the size to contain Tubelis and Arizona's other post players. Oumar Ballo had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats. A third big man, freshman Henri Veesaar, scored a career-high 16 points.
Kylan Boswell picked up most of the slack for Kriisa at the point, finishing with eight points, seven rebounds, eight assists and two turnovers in 26 minutes.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi kept the game close for much of the first half, forcing five turnovers in the first three minutes as it set the tone with a feisty, aggressive defense. The Wildcats poked ahead 21-16, but the Islanders rallied to lead 25-24 with 7:28 to go.
Arizona sped up the game from there, sprinting to a 15-3 run over the next three minutes and going on to lead 47-34 at the break. The Wildcats kept up the pressure after halftime, extending the lead past 30 points in the final few minutes.
Arizona, which entered as the nation's highest-scoring team (91.2 points per game), improved its national-best shooting percentage. The Wildcats, who were shooting 54.5 percent from the field, hit 56.7 percent (34 of 60) against the Islanders, including 15 of 27 from 3-point range.
--Field Level Media