Oumar Ballo had a double-double and No. 2 Arizona staked its claim to be the top-ranked team in the country next week as the Wildcats pulled away for an 82-55 victory over Colgate on Saturday in Tucson, Ariz.
Ballo, a 7-foot center, scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds to help Arizona (7-0) dominate the paint, holding the Raiders (4-4) without an offensive rebound until the final shot of the game as time expired.
Caleb Love added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats, who are in line for their first No. 1 ranking since the week of Jan. 27, 2014. They probably will replace current No. 1 Purdue, which lost Friday night to Northwestern, while No. 3 Marquette fell Saturday to Wisconsin.
Braeden Smith scored 11 points for Colgate, which was outscored 44-14 in the paint.
Arizona quickly pulled away after leading by five points at halftime. The Wildcats opened the second half with an 18-2 run, fueled by eight points by Kylan Boswell, expanding the lead to 53-32. The Raiders made only one field goal in the first eight minutes of the half.
Arizona poured it on from there against Colgate, the three-time defending Patriot League tournament champions. The Raiders shot 34.5 percent in the second half (10 of 29).
Pelle Larsson and Keshad Johnson each scored 10 points for the Wildcats, who pulled their starters with 6:15 to go. Larsson and Boswell each contributed six assists.
Arizona, which entered the game as the nation’s highest-scoring team (95.3 points per game), started relatively slowly on offensive, although the Wildcats did build a 31-19 lead with 4:20 to go in the first half.
Smith brought back Colgate with a trio of 3-pointers before halftime as the Raiders went into the break down only 35-30.
Arizona has four nonconference games remaining, all against top-level competition before Christmas, starting at home against Wisconsin next Saturday. The Wildcats also will play Purdue in Indianapolis, Alabama in Phoenix, and Florida Atlantic in Las Vegas.
–Field Level Media