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MailTribune.com
  • Arizona stays unbeaten with rout

  • TUCSON, Ariz. — Nick Johnson had 20 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and six assists to lead No. 5 Arizona to an 87-59 rout of Rhode Island Tuesday night and a trip to New York City for the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-off.
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  • TUCSON, Ariz. — Nick Johnson had 20 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and six assists to lead No. 5 Arizona to an 87-59 rout of Rhode Island Tuesday night and a trip to New York City for the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-off.
    Brandon Ashley added 16 points, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 13 and Aaron Gordon 12 for the Wildcats (5-0), who play Drexel in the tournament semifinals Nov. 27 in Madison Square Garden. No. 6 Duke plays Alabama in the other semifinal.
    Xavier Munford scored 20 on 6 for 16 shooting for the Rams, who never led. No other Rhode Island player reached double figures.
    The Rams (3-2) lost their 21st straight against a ranked team.
    The Wildcats led by 24 at halftime and as many as 32 after that.
    Arizona got off to a sloppy start, with four early turnovers, and was up only 10-6 after Rhode Island's Biggie Minnis scored with 10:50 left in the game.
    But the Wildcats scored six quick points, four by Johnson, in a 13-3 spurt that made it 23-9 on Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's dunk on a lob from T.J. McConnell with 6:54 left in the half. Munford's basket cut the lead to 23-11, then the Wildcats erupted in a 14-3 run. Gordon had a reverse dunk on a lob from McConnell, then Hollis-Jefferson sank a 3. Arizona led 37-14 and the rout was on.
    In the final minute of the half, McConnell sank a 3 and Ashley made two from the foul line to put the Wildcats up 43-19 at the break.
    The Rams shot 25 percent in the first half (7 for 28) to Arizona's 56 percent (18 of 32).
    Arizona outscored Rhode Island 13-6 to start the second half to go up 56-25 on Johnson's two free throws with 15:20 to play.
    The Rams, who struggled to beat Metro State 66-63 in the first round Monday night, put together a 19-7 run that cut the lead to 63-44 on a pair of free throws by Munford with 8:46 to play. Rhode Island had a chance to get closer but Gordon blocked Matthew Butler's shot and Gabe York sank a 3-pointer. Rhode Island never got it under 20 again. Rhode Island's last victory over a ranked team came against then-No. 25 Utah on Dec. 2, 1998.
    Southern California 76,Cal State Fullerton 62
    At Los Angeles, Byron Wesley scored 22 points and Southern California never trailed in beating Cal State Fullerton for the Trojans' third straight win at home.
    Omar Oraby had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Julian Jacobs added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Trojans (3-1). They were cheered on by former USC star and current Los Angeles Laker Nick Young.
    Freshman Sheldon Blackwell scored a career-high 14 points and Marquis Horne added 10 for the Titans (2-2), who are playing four of their first five games on the road.
    Fullerton of the Big West Conference fell to 7-36 overall against Pac-12 schools and 5-32 against them on the road.
    Wesley started slowly before scoring 13 points in the second half, when Fullerton made its only run. The junior averaged 23.5 points and 10.0 rebounds, and notched his first career double-double in leading USC to a pair of wins last week.
    Trailing by 24 points, the Titans rallied to score 14 in a row to pull to 57-47 midway through the second half. Blackwell scored five in a row and Horne had five, including a 3-pointer.
    The Trojans turned the ball over on consecutive offensive fouls, and Nikola Jovanovic and D.J. Haley picked up their fourth and third fouls, respectively, during Fullerton's spurt.
    Roschon Prince missed two free throws for USC, stole the ball at the other end and then missed a dunk, continuing USC's series of mistakes.
    From there, the Trojans settled down and Pe'Shon Howard hit a 3-pointer in front of their bench to keep them ahead 61-47. Howard finished with 11 points and five assists. Oraby scored four in a row, punctuated by a dunk that pushed USC's lead to 73-58 with 3:16 left.
    The Titans had four players with three or more fouls, and they committed a season-high 17 turnovers.
    The Trojans raced to an 18-3 lead to open the game. Fullerton turned the ball over on its first three possessions and had three other miscues during USC's run. USC stretched its lead to 45-25 at halftime, helped by 59 percent shooting and a dominating 26-10 edge in the paint. The Titans had 10 turnovers and shot 37 percent from the floor.
    Arizona State 86, UNLV 80
    At Las Vegas, Jahii Carson scored a career-high 40 points to lead Arizona State to a win.
    Carson, whose previous high was 34 points against Stanford in last year's Pac 12 tournament, was 16 of 25 from the field, including 2 of 3 from the 3-point line.
    Trailing 61-59 with a little more than 10 minutes left in the game, the Sun Devils (4-0) went on runs of 9-4, 14-7 and 22-13 to seize momentum.
    Jermaine Marshall added 20 points, while Jordan Bachynski had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Sun Devils. UNLV (2-2) had five players score in double figures, led by Roscoe Smith's 18 points and 21 rebounds.
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