Arizona point guard Mark Lyons makes sure everyone knows how many points his shot from behind the arc is worth against Texas Tech. He was 3 for 5 from the three-point line.


LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech invited the Arizona Wildcats for a "white-out" Saturday, but the colors turned out all wrong.

Actually, it became a red-out.

Not only were there about 5,000 empty red seats in United Spirit Arena for UA's 85-57 win over Texas Tech, contrasting with the white shirts most of the Red Raiders fans wore at the request of school officials, but there was also the fairly dominating sight of some red jerseys.

Those were the ones that the Wildcats chose to wear.

You could see all that red every time the Wildcats hit one of their six three-point shots in the first half. You could see Kaleb Tarczewski's red jersey rise up to grab his season-best 13 rebounds.

And, if you looked hard enough, you could see the blur that was Nick Johnson's red uniform. The Wildcats' steadily improving sophomore guard collected a game-high 18 points to go with five rebounds, two steals and an assist.

Four other Wildcats scored in double figures while ninth-ranked Arizona improved to 5-0 during its first road game of the season. The Wildcats will return home to face Southern Mississippi on Tuesday and travel to play at Clemson on Saturday.

"We're very excited to leave Lubbock with a win," UA coach Sean Miller said. "In our case, three of our five starters weren't here a year ago. … You wonder how it's going to work out on the road against a very frenetic, hard-playing team."

The Wildcats still have issues, to be sure. Most notably, they couldn't feed the post early in the game. And they had only 13 assists to 15 turnovers, with point guard Mark Lyons collecting four turnovers and zero assists.

But at least part of that trouble, both Miller and Johnson said, was created by Texas Tech's aggressive defense.

"The way that Texas Tech chose to play is not easy" to deal with, Miller said. "Your guards are being pressured so much. It lends to drives and maybe open shots more than it does post-ups."

The Red Raiders started the game with a textbook example, throwing UA's offense out of sync on its first few possessions. Just 18 seconds into the game, meanwhile, Texas Tech guard Josh Gray took a turnover from Solomon Hill and made a layup.

But Johnson soon after came up with a steal and layup of his own, and the Wildcats then began taking advantage of good three-point looks. They hit 6 of 13 three-point shots in the half, with Lyons getting three and Solomon Hill two before halftime.

The threes helped UA pull away from Texas Tech every time the game became close, with the Wildcats going on a 9-0 run, while keeping the Red Raiders scoreless for more than five minutes, to take a 30-18 lead.

UA also went on an 11-0 run to take a 43-25 lead late in the first half.

"So that stretch we don't score, and they're making threes, it's hard to come back from," Texas Tech coach Chris Walker said. "It's hard to come back like that with a team that's inexperienced."

Arizona wound up making 8 of 22 three-point shots for the game while shooting 56.6 percent overall. Even with the second-half slump from beyond the arc, it was the third straight game that the Wildcats have shot better than 50 percent.

"We're a very good three-point shooting team," Miller said. "We do it because we have a number of guys who can shoot the three. … Then it evened out. We were 2 for 9 in the second half, but we did a better job of driving and getting the ball inside."

But even though UA's three-point shooting tailed off in the second half, the Red Raiders were unable to make an extended run in the second half, after UA took a 45-28 halftime lead.

Texas Tech dropped to 4-1 in what was by far their toughest competition of the season.

"I think that team has a chance to go to the Final Four," Walker said of Arizona. "They really did some positive things.

"I'm going to take it as an experience. Our guys got a taste of what high level basketball is all about."

Up next

• What: Southern Mississippi at Arizona

• When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

• TV; radio: Pac-12 Arizona; 1490-AM, 104.9-FM