Azuolas Tubelis had 25 points and 12 rebounds as No. 4 Arizona survived poor 3-point shooting and struggled to put away winless Cal before posting an 81-68 victory on Sunday in Tucson, Ariz.
The Wildcats (7-1, 1-1 Pac-12) led by nine points at halftime but had a hard time shaking Cal (0-9, 0-2), which shot 50 percent in the second half. Arizona maintained a second-half lead that ranged from seven to 12 points until there was 4:15 left, when Tubelis’ layup in transition after an Oumar Ballo blocked shot put the Wildcats up 75-61.
Devin Askew scored 25 points for Cal, which posted a season high in scoring but continued the worst start to a season in school history. Lars Thiemann added 18 points for the Bears.
Arizona was 4 of 20 from 3-point range, which came on the heels of a 4-for-28 effort in Thursday night’s loss at Utah. The Wildcats mostly relied on Tubelis and Ballo to control the paint. Ballo had 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, although he struggled from the free-throw line, hitting only 3 of 10 attempts.
Tubelis and Ballo combined to make 16 of 28 shots from the field and pull down 19 rebounds.
Cedric Henderson Jr. contributed 11 points for Arizona, which won its 23rd consecutive home game. Courtney Ramey added 10 points and five assists.
Tubelis poured in 15 points in the first 8:18 of the game, and the Wildcats seemed poised to run away when they led by 15 points with 7:02 to go before halftime. But Askew hit a 3-pointer and had a four-point play on back-to-back possessions to bring Cal within 32-24. The Bears trimmed their deficit to six before going into the break trailing 42-33.
The Wildcats have now won 12 consecutive games against Cal dating back to 2016.
–Field Level Media