Adams leads Arizona past St. Mary's
Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) - Hassan Adams scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead 24th-ranked Arizona to a 73-61 victory over St. Mary's at the McKale Center on Saturday.
The mighty Wildcats, once a staple in college basketball's upper echelon, are looking less and less like one of the game's top programs.
Arizona (4-3) struggled mightily against lightly-regarded Saint Mary's (1-3) before pulling away for the victory.
The Gaels outhustled and outshot a Wildcat team that seemed disinterested until falling behind.
In the end, Arizona's stifling defense and its talented guard, Adams, were too much for Saint Mary's. Marcus Williams added 14 points and three rebounds in the triumph.
With Arizona holding a precarious 49-47 lead, Adams stole a lazy pass on the left wing and coasted in for the layup. Another steal, followed by a Mustafa Shakur jumper, gave the Cats some breathing room and a 53-47 lead.
Saint Mary's would never recover.
Brett Collins had 13 points while Diamon Simpson added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Gaels in the loss.
Arizona's defense was the key in overcoming a shoddy offensive performance.
The Wildcats held Saint Mary's top scorer, forward Daniel Kickert, to just seven points on 2-for-12 shooting from the field.
The two teams battled through a closely contested first half but poor shooting haunted Arizona.
Down 16-8 after Ian O'Leary's three-pointer, the Wildcats responded with a 18-10 run to tie the score at 26-26 with 4:49 left in the first half.
The plucky Gaels refused to give in on a the way to a 34-27 halftime lead.
A Simpson layup sparked an 8-0 run that gave Saint Mary's back control of the game while Arizona could muster just one free throw the rest of the half.
The Cats hit just nine of 29 shots in the first half.
Arizona has been ranked in 306 consecutive AP Polls...Kickert had been averaging 21.0 ppg coming into the contest...The Wildcats are just 1-3 in games decided by 10 points or less this season...Arizona now leads the all-time series with St. Mary's 4-2...Arizona was 0-8 from three-point land in the first half and 0-10 for the game...The Wildcats return to action December 17 versus Utah, while Saint Mary's visits Air Force on December 13.ARIZONA STMARYSCA