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WSU Men's Basketball
Sports >  WSU basketball

Big second half pushes Arizona past Washington State 83-62

UPDATED: Thu., March 5, 2020

Arizona forward Josh Green (0) and Nico Mannion pressure Washington State forward CJ Elleby (2) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (Rick Scuteri / AP)
Arizona forward Josh Green (0) and Nico Mannion pressure Washington State forward CJ Elleby (2) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (Rick Scuteri / AP)
By John Marshall Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. – Nico Mannion scored 15 of 23 his points in the second half, Zeke Nnaji added 21 and Arizona raced away from Washington State for an 83-62 victory Thursday night.

The Wildcats (20-10, 10-7 Pac-12) labored through a lethargic first half, managing to keep the Cougars close behind Nnaji’s 14 first-half points.

Mannion, who had seven assists, took over in the second half and Arizona turned a close game into a rout with a 26-0 run to end a three-game losing streak.

Washington State (15-15, 6-11) shot 4 of 19 from 3-point range, 32% overall and had a scoreless streak of more than 7 1/2 minutes as Arizona pulled away in the second half.

Isaac Bonton led the Cougars with 21 points.

Arizona went from being in the hunt for the Pac-12 regular-season title to fighting for a first-round bye.

The Wildcats arrived back at McKale Center after losing three straight, the last one 69-64 to UCLA on Saturday after coach Sean Miller was ejected in the second half.

That left Arizona in a logjam with Stanford, Colorado and Southern California with seven losses entering the final week.

Arizona beat Washington State 66-49 in Pullman last month after the Cougars shot 3 for 18 from the 3-point line.

Washington State again had trouble finding the range early against Arizona in the rematch, going 4 for 19 from the arc.

The Cougars led 31-29 at halftime, though, because the Wildcats weren’t much better – except for Nnaji.

The 6-foot-11 freshman had his way with the Cougars inside early and continued to cause problems even after they started double teaming him. He hit 6 of 9 shots while the rest of the Wildcats combined to go 6 for 22.

Mannion got it going early in the second half, scoring nine quick points, and Arizona fed off his energy, reeling off 26 straight to go up 58-38.

The Wildcats shot 20 of 34 in the second half, including 6 of 8 from 3, and held Washington State without a field goal for 9 1/2 minutes.

Big picture

Washington State did a nice job of making it a grinding game in the first half, but had no answer when Mannion and the Wildcats got rolling. Arizona won a game it couldn’t afford to lose with a stellar second half, keeping alive its hopes of a first-round Pac-12 tournament bye.

Up next

Washington State plays at Arizona State on Saturday.

Arizona hosts Washington on Saturday.

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