ALBUQUERQUE – Looks like Rawle Alkins is pretty healthy now.
The Arizona sophomore forward celebrated his first start of the season by scoring a career-high 26 points on 9-for-11 shooting to lead Arizona to an 89-73 win over New Mexico at The Pit, with he and his teammates slicing confidently through the Lobos’ ever-pressing defense.
Arizona shot 64.0 percent overall, though it allowed the Lobos to creep within single digits during a second-half run that had the near-capacity Pit crowd largely on its feet.
Up by 16 at halftime, Arizona built leads of up to 19 points before the Lobos gradually slipped back in the game, with the New Mexico fans on their feet and loudly cheering throughout the second half.
The Lobos forced six UA turnovers through the first 16 minutes of the second half, and had seven offensive rebounds over that time for 13 second-chance points.
New Mexico cut UA’s lead to 74-66 with 5:33 left on a pair of free throws by Sam Logwood, and later crept within 78-71 on two free throws from Dane Kuiper.
But Allonzo Trier sliced through the Lobo defense for a layup and after Parker Jackson-Cartwright stole the ball from New Mexico’s Antino Jackson, Deandre Ayton raced downcourt for a dunk that gave the Wildcats an 82-71 lead with 2:53 left.
The Wildcats hung on from there.
In the first half, Alkins had 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting to lead Arizona to a 49-33 halftime lead.
Alkins was playing only his second game of the season after missing nine games with a broken foot. He came off the bench against Alabama on Dec. 9 and struggled at times but had no such issues on Saturday.
While Alkins totaled 26 for Arizona, Allonzo Trier had 22 points and Deandre Ayton had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Dane Kuiper scored 24 points to lead New Mexico, which shot just 38.7 percent from the field.
Arizona was playing without backup point guard Alex Barcello, who sprained his left ankle last week in practice, while New Mexico returned forward Sam Logwood from his one-game leave of absence. Logwood had eight points and five assists in 26 minutes for the Lobos.