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Arizona men’s basketball vs. Long Beach State final score: Wildcats run past Beach in 1st round
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Arizona men’s basketball vs. Long Beach State final score: Wildcats run past Beach in 1st round

Apr 2, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY—This March is already better than the last one.

Second-seeded Arizona wrapped a 16-0 run around halftime to run away from No. 15 Long Beach State, winning 85-65 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in the Delta Center on Thursday afternoon.

It was the UA’s seventh consecutive NCAA win in Salt Lake City and comes a year after getting upset in the first round by No. 15 Princeton in Sacramento. The Wildcats (26-8) will play No. 7 seed Dayton (25-7) in Saturday’s second round after the Flyers rallied from down 17 in the second half to beat No. 10 Nevada 63-60.

Arizona had five players in double figures, improving to 17-1 this season when having at least five get to 10 or more points. Leading the way was Kylan Boswell, who made four 3-pointers and scored a career-high 20 while adding eight assists.

Caleb Lovewent for 18, his most since Senior Day against Oregon, adding a career-high 11 rebounds (for his second career double-double) and five assists, while Oumar Ballo went for 11 points and 13 boards to notch his 13th double-double in the last 14 games.

Pelle Larssonadded 15 and KeshadJohnson 13as the UA shot 41.7 percent, that number heavily impacted by a lot of early misses at the rim as it worked to penetrate Long Beach’s 3-2 zone. It was 13 of 35 from 3, the most triples in school history in a postseason game and the most attempts all season.

Long Beach, which made a miracle run through the Big West Tournament after coach Dan Monson was fired going into it, shot 33.3 and were 3 of 17 from 3. The Beach (21-15) outrebounded the UA 50-47, grabbing 17 offensive boards and outscoring the Wildcats in the paint 38-32.

The UA led 41-35 at the break, holding Long Beach scoreless the final 2:34 of the first half. It scored the first nine of the second half, making it 16 in a row dating back to 2:14 left before halftime, to go up 50-35. The Beach got two free throws to end their drought only to see Arizona run off five more including a Larsson 3 to make it 55-37 and forceMonson to call a second timeout in less than four minutes.

The lead swelled to 21 on a Love triple with 13:46 remaining, and Larsson’s third longball made it 65-43 with 11:08 to go to set the school tourney record.

Long Beach, which started the second half 2 of 22, went on an 8-1 run to get within 66-51 but could get no closer. A breakaway dunk by Boswell made it 75-53 with 6:14 remaining, prompting another Long Beach timeout that allowed Arizona’s bench to give Boswell shit for his form.

If ever there was a sign of how relieved this team was to get past that first game, especially after how it started.

pointer until more than six minutes into the game. The Wildcats got to the rim quite often on drives but kept missing, starting 2 of 14 from inside the arc.

The UA led 17-9 with 13:09 left in the first half before going ice cold, missing 10 shots in a row while turning it over twice. That fueled a 13-0 Long Beach run to go up 22-17 with 8:40 remaining before the half.

A scoring drought of more than five minutes when Love drove and was fouled in transition, sparking a 7-0 run with the other two makes coming off steals to put Arizona back up 24-22. But Long Beach fired right back and took its biggest lead at 31-26 on a Jadon Jones3 with 4:26 remaining.

After that the Beach only made two more shots as Arizona finished the half on a 15-4 run that included a mix of drives, 3s and trips to the line.

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