A tie game after 13 minutes was the sort of problem the Arizona Wildcats have handled before this season, and they did Monday at McKale Center.
But while Arizona went on from a 22-22 tie to beat North Dakota State 83-53, the Wildcats were thrown another scare: They watched Allonzo Trier hit the floor after his knees collided and appeared to be bent back when he was guarding the Bison’s Paul Miller.
Trier stayed on the floor and pounded it in frustration and the arena went almost dead silent for a minute while trainer Justin Kokoskie came out to check on him.
(The video, shot by Ch. 4's Ari Alexander, is below)
FLOOR ANGLE: Allonzo Trier's knee injury. You can see Paul Miller knock into Trier's left knee. It's also slowed down to 25%: pic.twitter.com/bamNRDCZgz— Ari Alexander (@AriA1exander) December 19, 2017
Trier was helped off the court but returned to the UA bench after seven minutes had passed on the game clock, limping slightly but under his own power, and it appeared that the injury was not overly serious.
Coach Sean Miller said he expects to know more on Tuesday. Coaches are optimistic that Trier suffered a bone bruise and not something more serious.
Sean Miller provides an update on Allonzo Trier’s left knee injury. Says it’s possible that it’s a bone bruise since the knees collided so Trier could be “out a day” or it could be worse. Miller says trainers will evaluate more tomorrow morning. pic.twitter.com/dxycrQMwrt— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) December 19, 2017
Trier’s injury took some of the upbeat nature away from UA’s win, and Miller was even booed when he took free throws late in the game.
Deandre Ayton had 25 points and nine rebounds to lead the Wildcats while Trier had 15 points before leaving with 9:53 left, and Rawle Alkins added 11.
Arizona shot 50 percent overall, though the Wildcats made just 5 of 20 3-pointers, while holding the Bison to 37-percent shooting despite NDSU's hot-shooting start.
Still mired in a 22-22 tie with 6:54 left to play in the first half, the Wildcats kept the Bison scoreless from there into halftime and beyond it. UA took a 16-point lead at halftime and kept going with what ultimately became a 26-3 run.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright kept it going early in the second half, feeding both Ayton and Rawle Alkins for alley-oop dunks while a 3-pointer from Trier finished the run with UA ahead 51-25 and already all but out of reach for NDSU.
In the first half, Ayton and Trier helped Arizona out of its early funk and into a 38-22 halftime lead.
Ayton had 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a dunk with five seconds remaining to finish the first-half scoring, while Trier had 10 points while making 2 of 3 3-pointers before halftime.
Coming off a highly charged, fast-paced game at New Mexico just two days earlier, the Wildcats struggled to stay even with the much slower Bison through the first 14 minutes of the game.
Arizona missed seven of its first eight three pointers and was outrebounded 11-10 by the much smaller Bison over that stretch. North Dakota State also shot 50 percent through the first 10 minutes of the game and hit four of its first six 3-pointers.
But the Wildcats clamped down defensively and went on an 10-0 run over three minutes near the end of the half. They received a putback from Dylan Smith under the basket, plus 3s from Trier and Parker Jackson-Cartwright and, after a timeout, a jumper from Rawle Alkins that gave UA a 32-22 lead.
During the final 10 minutes, North Dakota missed all 10 3-pointers it attempted against the Wildcats.
Arizona also wound up outrebounding NDSU 41-29 for the game.
UA freshman forward Emmanuel Akot played 10 minutes after not appearing in the Wildcats' previous two games, while Alex Barcello played 11 in the second half after sitting out at New Mexico with an ankle sprain.