Recap: Arizona vs. Rhode Island
Tucson, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Nick Johnson recorded his first career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the fifth-ranked Arizona Wildcats to an 87-59 rout of Rhode Island to advance to the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Johnson also handed out a game-high six assists as Arizona (5-0) won for the 25th time in its last 27 meetings against unranked, non-conference foes. Brandon Ashley netted 16 points.
"Each year that he's been at Arizona he's improved," Arizona head coach Sean Miller said of Johnson. "His freshman year he was solid, his sophomore year he was better and I think I said this all pre-season, I look at him becoming an all-conference player."
The Wildcats will face Drexel on Nov. 27 at Madison Square Garden. Alabama and Duke will meet in the other semifinal.
Freshman sensation Aaron Gordon added 12 points and seven rebounds while fellow rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tallied 13 points on 5-of-7 from the floor off the bench.
Xavier Munford was the lone Rhode Island (3-2) player in double figures with a game-high 22 points.
"They're very good at both ends of the floor. They contest everything from the 3-point line and at the basket," Rams head coach Dan Hurley said of Arizona.
Gordon scored six of Arizona's first 10 points as the Wildcats quickly built a 10-2 lead.
Rhode Island had a difficult time decoding the UA defense, posting just six points in the first 10:50 of the contest.
Hollis-Jefferson's 3 capped an 8-0 burst late in the half and the hosts led 43-19 at the break.
Less than a minute into the second half, Arizona executed a play its becoming known for in the early portion of this season when Ashley came off a screen and slammed home an alley-oop from Gordon off a baseline inbounds pass.
URI netted eight straight points midway through the second when Arizona went cold offensively, but Hollis-Jefferson ignited the offense when he took it the length of the floor before stopping on a dime to find an open Gabe York for a corner 3.
Johnson brought the crowd to its feet one final time when he drove baseline and threw down a righty jam before the last media timeout.Game Notes
Arizona has now won all three meetings between the two schools ... The
Wildcats had seven dunks ... Rhode Island has now lost 26 straight games to
ranked opponents ... Arizona shot 57.9 percent from the floor ... URI had just
six assists as a team compared to 19 for UA.