Arizona overcame sloppy play early to cruise in its first road game of the season.
Arizona took to the road for the first time on the 2012-'13 season Saturday, but made itself at home in an 85-57 rout of Texas Tech.
The final outcome was hardly in doubt. Arizona (5-0) went up by double digits midway through the first half and continued to build on its advantage for the duration. The lead approached 40 points before Texas Tech (4-1) added garbage time points. However, the Wildcats initially had to overcome some sloppy play.
Arizona committed 16 turnovers on the night, four of which came from starting point guard Mark Lyons.
The Wildcats compensated on the other end of the court, holding Texas Tech more than 30 points below its average. Arizona's smothering defense allowed the Red Raiders to shoot just 34.9 percent from the field and 28.6 from behind the arc.
UA used its collective length to push Texas Tech away from the paint, and to take contested jump shots. Arizona parlayed those misses into a 37-26 rebound advantage. Kaleb Tarczewski was a force on the defensive blocks and glass. With 13 rebounds, 3-3 shooting and two blocked shots, the 7-foot freshman played his most complete game of his young college career.
The nation's highest scoring team had no answer for the Wildcats' defensive pressure. Jaye Crockett was the only Red Raider to reach double figures scoring.
Conversely, five Wildcats scored 11 or more. Nick Johnson set the pace with 18 points, the highlight of another all-around strong performance from the sophomore guard. Johnson grabbed five rebounds, ripped two steals and shot a torrid 7-11 from the field.
Saturday's contest serves as something of a tune-up for the next road game, a week from tonight at Clemson. Despite its unbeaten record coming in, Texas Tech is a program rebuilding after the off-season tumult involving former head coach Billy Gillispie. The turnover issues that plagued UA on Saturday could prove more problematic in ACC Country at a venue notoriously difficult for visitors, Littlejohn Coliseum.
Before trekking cross country to face Clemson, Arizona returns to McKale Center for a showdown with 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Southern Miss on Tuesday.