After a half of play, the Arizona Wildcats lead the New Mexico St. Aggies by a score of 44-40. The first twenty minutes featured plenty of 3's, high-flying dunks, and (maybe) three defensive stops. UA seemingly outplayed NMSU for most of the half, but the team was unable to pull away and will have a fight on their hands in the second half.
Nick Johnson, who is made the first start of his career, leads the Wildcats with nine points and Solomon Hill has done a little bit of everything with eight points, four rebounds and three assists. Hill picked up his third foul late in the half. Jesse Perry has been a force in the paint, scoring seven points and bringing in four rebounds. And in news no one saw coming, Kyryl Natyazhko hit two jumpers coming off the bench.
New Mexico State raced out to an early 10-2 lead, but they faltered once the bench came in. Wendell McKines leads the way with 13 points and has his three 3's thus far. The Aggies' two big men, Hamidu Rahman and Tshilidzi Nephawe, have dominated in the paint and combined for 13 points and eight rebounds.
Arizona is clearly the more talented team, but it will come down to which team digs in on defense for the second half. If the Wildcats don't make adjustments, they could fall for the third consecutive time.
For more on the game, head on over to AZ Desert Swarm.