No. 2 Wildcats cruise to 86-68 win over Matadors
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Freshman Stanley Johnson scored 17 points, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 14 and No. 2 Arizona rolled to an 86-68 win over Cal State Northridge on Sunday night.
Arizona (2-0) got off to a shaky start and struggled from the perimeter in its opener against Mount St. Mary's on Friday before pulling away.
The Wildcats had few problems against Northridge (1-1), building a big early lead and cruising to their 23rd straight home win.
Hollis-Jefferson gave Arizona a lift off the bench for the second straight game, scrapping for loose balls and rebounds while making a variety of acrobatic shots in the lane.
Brandon Ashley followed up his successful return from a broken foot with another solid game, scoring 13 points. T.J. McConnell orchestrated Arizona's more-fluid offense, finishing with seven points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Northridge had trouble with Arizona's length and athleticism in its second game against a ranked team, forcing up shots early and making 2 of 10 from 3-point range overall.
Stephen Maxwell led the Matadors with 19 points and Aaron Parks added 15.
Arizona shook off its nervous start against Mount St. Mary's with a flurry of steals and dunks during a late first-half run turned the game into a rout.
The Matadors started the season with a brutal two-step, facing the Wildcats at McKale Center after opening with a 79-58 loss at San Diego State.
Northridge suited up 10 players against San Diego State while it sorts through possible rules violation involving several players. The Matadors were down to eight players against SDSU after Landon Drew was injured midway through the second half and Tre Hale-Edmerson fouled out.
Even with Drew back in the starting lineup, the Matadors stood little chance against the Wildcats.
Unlike the first game, Arizona was sharp from the opening tip, working the ball around on offense to get good looks at the basket, forcing Northridge into difficult shots at the other end.
The Wildcats struggled from the perimeter in the opener, going 4 for 16 from 3-point range. They had it dialed in from the arc a little better against the Matadors, making 5 of 11 in the first half while methodically building a 37-23 lead.
Arizona kept on the accelerator in the second half, pushing the lead to 29 points before pulling back. The Wildcats finished 8 for 18 from 3-point range.
Northridge: The Matadors, who lead the nation by making 79 percent of their free throws last season, went 22 of 28 from the line against Arizona.
Arizona: Ashley was hit in the face under Arizona's basketball in the first half and lay on the floor for several seconds as the game continued. He appeared to be a bit groggy when he got up, but rested on the bench and returned a few minutes later. ... The Wildcats have won 29 straight regular-season non-conference games.
Northridge hosts Montana State on Wednesday.
Arizona hosts UC Irvine the same day.