Brandon Ashley hit a career-high three three-pointers and scored 15 points overall while the Arizona Wildcats beat New Mexico State 74-48 tonight at McKale Center.
The Wildcats (10-0) were playing their first game as the No. 1 rated team in the nation and, after hitting a few early bumps, generally dominated the Aggies (7-5).
Arizona outrebounded New Mexico State 38-21, shot 51.8 percent freom the field and held the Aggies to 2-for-18 three-point shooting. They also generally ran around NMSU 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar, who had three points and seven rebounds.
Arizona coach Sean Miller cleared his bench late in the game but there was no sign of reserve forward Zach Peters and no explanation was given immediately why he was not on the team’s bench.
Ashley had three fouls in the first half but scored another five points over the first six minutes of the second half, with a layup and a three-pointer from the left corner.
Ashley finished with 3 for 3 three-point shooting. After making three 3-pointers over the first 41 games of his college career, he has now made 7 in the Wildcats’ past 4 games.
Kaleb Tarczewski had 14 points, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 12 and Aaron Gordon had 11, though Gordon was 1 for 6 from the free-throw line.
In the first half, Ashley scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes and Arizona kept on top of NMSU, taking a 32-24 halftime lead tonight at McKale Center.
While Ashley paced the Wildcats early, Kaleb Tarczewski helped power a 9-0 run in the middle of the first half and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added an electric one-handed jam in the late minutes.
New Mexico State built an early 10-5 lead through the first six minutes, getting three early rebounds from the towering Bhullar, but Ashley hit two free throws and made a rebound basket to pull the Wildcats back within one before they went on a 9-0 run.
Tarczewski dunked twice to start the run, while Ashley hit a three pointer and Nick Johnson made a layup to make it 18-11 with 7:37 left in the half.