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NCAAB: Arizona opens Tommy Lloyd era with rout of Northern Arizona

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Kerr Kriisa had 17 points and five assists as Arizona deftly shared the ball and posted an 81-52 victory over Northern Arizona in the head coaching debut of Tommy Lloyd on Tuesday night in Tucson, Ariz.

The Wildcats showed more defensive pressure and a faster offensive style than they played under former coach Sean Miller. They forced 21 turnovers and assisted on 25 of 28 baskets.

Kriisa, a sophomore taking over starting point guard duties this season, hit 4 of 10 3-point shots. He did not commit a turnover in 29 minutes, and Arizona turned over the ball a mere six times.

Azuolas Tubelis had 13 points and five rebounds for Arizona. Dalen Terry, a sophomore, added 11 points and a career-high seven assists. Christian Koloko, a 7-foot-1 junior, had eight points and a career-high five blocks.

Carson Towt led Northern Arizona in its season opener with 11 points and nine rebounds. He was the team’s only player with double-figure points.

Lloyd spent the previous 20 years as a Gonzaga assistant. One of his former players — backup center Oumar Ballo — is now at Arizona, and he posted eight points and nine rebounds in 10 minutes on Tuesday.

Arizona led 42-22 at halftime and maintained a comfortable lead throughout the second half. The Lumberjacks inched as close as 46-31 before the Wildcats steadily pulled away. They led by as many as 35 points with about four minutes to go.

Northern Arizona battled early as Arizona held a modest 18-15 lead with 9:18 to go in the first half but accelerated quickly after that.

Kim Aiken Jr.’s 3-pointer sparked a 13-0 run, capped by a Tubelis’ fastbreak layup at the 5:59 mark. The Wildcats closed the half on a 9-0 spurt as they took their biggest lead of the half at 42-22 when Koloko drove from the top of the key for a left-handed layup to beat the buzzer.

The Wildcats improved to 101-27 all-time against Northern Arizona.

–Field Level Media

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