No. 12 Arizona 72, UTEP 51

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 16, 2012
Ncaa-basketball-atlantic
Mark Lyons scored 17 points, Solomon Hill added 10 and No. 12 Arizona overcame some sloppy ball-handling to beat Texas-El Paso 72-51 Thursday night. After taking care of the ball in its opener, Arizona (2-0) had some careless moments against UTEP, turning it over 19 times. The Wildcats also fouled a little too much, particularly in the second half, which let the Miners keep it close for a while. Arizona made up for it by shooting 9 of 18 from 3-point range and dominating the glass, outrebounding the Miners 35-15. Despite trailing by as many as 21 points, UTEP (1-1) remained aggressive, getting to the free-throw line 16 times in the second half. The Miners went 14 of 29 from the line overall, but shot 36 percent from the floor against Arizona's long front line. Julian Washburn and Chris Washburn each had 11 points for UTEP. Arizona and UTEP are no strangers on the basketball court. The Wildcats and Miners played in the same conference together from 1935-78, first with the Border Conference, then the Western Athletic Conference. They hadn't met since 1995, though, and went in different directions after that: Arizona became a national powerhouse in a major conference while UTEP scratched its way into the NCAA tournament twice. Arizona entered this season with some big expectations after coach Sean Miller signed another highly touted recruiting class that included four of the top incoming big men in the country. They didn't contribute much in the Wildcats' opener, though, forcing Miller to go with his veterans down the stretch in a tighter-than-expected 82-73 home win over Charleston Southern. Arizona's young bigs got off to a good start against UTEP, with Kaleb Tarczewski scoring its first basket on a putback and Grant Jerrett hitting a 3-pointer for the next one. They also hit the boards: Tarczewski, Jerrett and Brandon Ashley combined to outrebound UTEP 12-8 in the first half. All the Wildcats seemed to be hitting 3-pointers. Lyons opened with two early and added another late while scoring 11 points in the first half. The Wildcats went 8 of 13 from long range in the half and had 15 more rebounds, helping them overcome 11 turnovers - three more than the entire opener - to lead 35-22. UTEP had it easy in its first game, rolling over Oral Roberts by 20. The Miners have struggled on the road - 1-11 last season - and were facing a big upgrade in talent, not to mention one of the toughest atmospheres in college basketball. UTEP struggled offensively early, missing 11 of its first 16 shots. The Miners fought their way back a couple of times, using their defense and a slew of free throws to cut Arizona's lead to 39-31 in the first 4 minutes of the second half. Hill took over from there, hitting a 3-pointer, a rebound slam and a baseline jumper. Then he fed Angelo Chol for another from the same spot that put Arizona up 50-33. The Miners chipped away again, pulling within eight, but Arizona didn't let them any closer, pulling away down the stretch.
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