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Markkanan scores 22 as Cats roll to win over Sacred Heart - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Markkanan scores 22 as Cats roll to win over Sacred Heart

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Lauri Markkanen scored 22 points to lead six Arizona players in double figures and the No. 10 Wildcats routed overmatched Sacred Heart 95-65 on Friday night.
    
Fellow freshman Rawle Alkins added 18 points for the Wildcats (3-0). They led by as many as 25 points in the first half and 39 in the second.
    
Arizona's Dusan Ristic had 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
    
Quincy McKnight had 22 points and Joseph Lopez 15 for the Pioneers (1-2).
    
The game was part of the Las Vegas Invitational, as is Monday night's game against Northern Colorado. The Wildcats move on to Las Vegas to play Santa Clara next Thursday.
    
If a team plays four games in a tournament, it gets an extra game on its schedule.
    
The much bigger, quicker Wildcats never trailed turned the game into a blowout in a hurry, despite having a miserable night from 3-point range.
    
The Wildcats were 1 for 15 on 3s before Markkanen made two in a row late in the second half.
    
A pair of Arizona newcomers got the McKale Center crowd rocking with some high-flying plays.
    
In consecutive plays, freshman Kobi Simmons had a backcourt steal and two-handed dunk and junior college transfer Keanu Pinder knocked the ball away in Sacred Heart's backcourt and got the dunk on a lob pass from Parker Jackson-Cartwright at the other end, and Arizona led 43-18 with 4:17 left in the first half.
    
Ristic had 10 rebounds in the first half, one shy of his career-best for a game. The Wildcats led 49-25 at the break.
    
PAC-12 POUNDINGS
    
It was the first meeting between the schools and the first for Sacred Heart against a Pac-12 team since playing Washington on Dec. 22, 2004. The Pioneers lost that one 114-55.
    
The Wildcats pounded a Northeast Conference team for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
    
They beat Bryant 100-60 in the 2011-12 season, Farleigh-Dickenson 100-50 in 2013-14 and Mount St. Mary's 78-55 in 2014-15.
    
HEART BREAKER
    
Sacred Heart finished second in the Northeast Conference last and had the conference player of the year in sophomore Cane Broome, who averaged 23.1 points per game, eighth in NCAA Division I. But Broome transferred to Cincinnati, wanting to play in an elite program.
    
SHAQ IN THE HOUSE
    
NBA great Shaquille O'Neal was one of those in the crowd at sold-out McKale. He was in town for a visit by his son Shareef. The younger O'Neal, a 6-foot-8 junior forward at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California, is a five-star recruit. Baylor and UCLA also are chasing him.
    
UP NEXT
    
Sacred Heart: The Pioneers make the second and final stop on their trip west when they play at Santa Clara Monday night.
    
Arizona: The Wildcats complete a three-game home stand against teams from lesser conferences when they face Northern Colorado on Monday night.
 

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