Kansas St gave Arizona all they could handle in the second round of the Maui Invitational, but ultimately the Wildcats from Tucson had just enough to finish on top at the final buzzer.
Arizona hung on to a narrow lead for most of the game, extending it to a 9 point game with 10:38 left to play. Arizona appeared to be following the script of slow starts and late runs, but Kansas St didn’t let Arizona run away with the game.
The lead bounced back and forth between the two teams 12 times, and the game was tied 5 times it what was a wire to wire game.
Arizona was led by junior big man Kaleb Tarczewski, who tied a career high 18 points on 7-9 shooting. Tarczewski’s scoring touch down low was crucial in jump starting Arizona’s sometimes stagnant offense.
The bench rotation shortened a bit, with Sean Miller playing the five starters and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all 25 minutes or more. Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Elliott Pitts, and Dusan Ristic all played 7 minutes a piece.
Though Arizona struggled with foul shooting early on, missing their first five attempts, Stanley Johnson converted 7-8 at the free throw line on his way to 14 points. Johnson also pulled in 7 rebounds, second highest on the team behind Hollis-Jefferson’s 8.
Gabe York chipped in 15 points on 6-10 shooting, stepping up to Miller’s call for more guard scoring. York also hit 2-4 from beyond the three point line.
Arizona advances to the final round of the Maui Invitational, with a matchup against either San Diego St or Pittsburgh.