TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona got stuck in Oregon State’s preferred pace, forced to grind out half-court possessions. A litany of whistles further bogged down the game.
The Wildcats still managed to build a 14-point lead.
Once the whistles subsided and the floor opened up, Arizona blew past Oregon State for the type of rout typically seen in early-season nonconference games.
Azuolas Tubelis scored 19 points, Courtney Ramey added 11 and No. 5 Arizona used a massive first-half run to blow out Oregon State 84-52 on Saturday night.
“That was a woodshed job,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle. “We came out in the gate and executed our plan, then the floodgates opened.”
The game started like a trickle, successful foul calls accentuating Oregon State’s measured pace. The Wildcats (21-3, 10-3 Pac-12) slogged through it, then raced past the Beavers with a 19-2 run to go up 26 by halftime.
Arizona had 22 assists on 28 field goals, grabbed 17 more rebounds and outscored Oregon State by 16 in the paint to win its sixth straight.
“I didn’t think maybe our overall energy in all stretches was great tonight, but sometimes that happens,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said. “To do that and put together an effort like that, and be able to play a lot of guys is an encouraging sign.”
The Beavers (9-15, 3-10) brought one of the nation’s least-experienced teams into McKale Center and had the game at the pace they wanted — for a little while.
One of Division I’s more deliberate teams, Oregon State prevented the Wildcats from getting out in transition early, the game bogged down even more by 21 combined first-half fouls.
Once the Wildcats started rolling, the Beavers couldn’t catch them, losing their seventh straight to Arizona. Jordan Pope led Oregon State with 11 points.
“They’re a great team, obviously well coached, but I think our youth showed itself a little bit,” Tinkle said. ‘”We got knocked on our heels.”
The Beavers turned the first half into a grind, but Arizona was able to smooth it out just enough.
Relying on defense and half-court offense, the Wildcats steadily built a 14-point lead in small increments. Arizona seemed to spend as much time at the free throw line as running its offense and took advantage, hitting 15 of 21 in the first half.
The Wildcats finally found room to maneuver once the parade of whistles slowed, getting out in transition for layups and early-offense baskets.
Led by Tubelis. Arizona closed the first half on a 19-2 run, capped by Boswell’s deep 3 at the buzzer for a 47-21 lead.
“When I caught and put it up, I knew it was going in,” said Arizona guard Kylan Boswell, who had eight points. ”That was pretty crazy.”
Tubelis had quite a weekend with friends and family from Lithuania in town.
On Thursday, he scored 40 points against Oregon, the most by an Arizona player in 28 years. Tubelis needed 8 1/2 minutes to make his first shot against Oregon State, but had 15 first-half points. He finished 6 of 10 from the floor and and grabbed eight rebounds in 23 minutes.
“He’s playing like a vet,” Lloyd said. “He understands where his opportunities are in the court and he’s doing a tremendous job. He’s having an All-American type season. I’ve coached those guys and he’s at that level.”
Oregon State: The Beavers managed to get the pace they wanted in the early going. They couldn’t sustain it — Arizona had something to do with that — and remain winless at McKale Center since 2010.
Arizona: The Wildcats had to fight through a string of whistles and Oregon State’s deliberate style early and still built a 14-point lead. Arizona blew it open with a big run that put the game out of reach by halftime.
Oregon State: Hosts No. 9 UCLA on Thursday night.
Arizona: Plays at California on Thursday night.
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