The No. 4 Arizona Wildcats are making being undefeated look as easy as a day at the beach. Mark Lyons certainly isn’t complaining that 20-point wins have become fairly common.
Lyons scored 19 points as Arizona easily defeated Miami 69-50 on Sunday night at the Diamond Head Classic tournament in Honolulu.
”We can always get better. Nobody is perfect,” Lyons said. ”We’re jelling real well together.”
The score itself was nothing special for the Wildcats, who have won eight games by double digits and five by more than 20 points.
”It was one of our best performances of the year and it came at the expense of a good team,” said Arizona’s Sean Miller, who earned his 200th career coaching victory.
Nick Johnson had 12 points, and Kevin Parrom added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats (11-0).
Arizona, one of five unbeaten teams left in the country, advanced to Tuesday’s championship game of the eight-team tournament against No. 18 San Diego State, which beat Indiana State 62-55 earlier Sunday.
After a close game early with several ties and lead changes, Arizona took a 14-point lead toward the end of the first half and pulled further away in the second. The Wildcats dominated on rebounds and spread their offense among several players.
Miami went scoreless for a four-minute stretch of the second half. Arizona scored 10 points during the drought to take a 26-point lead with less than three minutes remaining.
Arizona shot 48.1 percent (25 of 52) for the game, including 44 percent from 3-point range. Miami made only five 3-pointers, two in the second half.
Kenny Kadji led the Hurricanes (8-2) with 19 points, taking nearly half of his team’s shots. Durand Scott scored 15 points.
A putback dunk from Kaleb Tarczewski gave Arizona a 16-point lead seven minutes into the second half. A few minutes later, Lyons casually sank a long 3-pointer to push the lead to 19. He then slowly walked backward down the court without expression.
”He has great belief in himself and he can really shoot the ball,” Miller said of Lyons. ”He also has a competitive nature that can be contagious, but no question: He set the tone from the onset, and I thought that he was very good throughout.”
Tarczewski scored eight points and had 13 of Arizona’s 46 rebounds. Miami had only 20 rebounds.
Arizona has played only one close game this season, a one-point victory over Florida on Dec. 15.
One thing Miller said his club could improve on is cutting down on turnovers. The Wildcats had 16 against Miami.
”We’re trying to be a team that can do some special things and I think that we want to be hard on ourselves,” Miller said. ”There’s always things that we can do better.”