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Arizona men’s basketball obliterates Morgan State in season opener

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-morgan-state-bears-recap-final-score-stats-highlights-opener-2023 Arizona Athletics

Arizona began last season by scoring its most points in a game in 24 years. It decided not to wait nearly as long to top that tally and nearly set a school record for biggest margin of victory in the process.

The 12th-ranked Wildcats absolutely crushed Morgan State 122-59 on Monday night at McKale Center, tying for the fifth-most points in school history and the most since dropping 127 on ASU in 1998. The 63-point margin was one off the school record set against Robert Morris in 1996.

The UA scored 61 first-half points, its most since dropping 63 on ASU a quarter-century ago, and outscored its entire production from the upset loss to 15th-seeded Princeton the last time it was on the court.

Kylan Boswell scored a career-high 18 points, making 7 of 10 shots including 4 of 5 from 3, while Pelle Larsson had 13 of his 15 in the first half after missing the two exhibition games with an ankle injury. Eight Wildcats scored in double figures including freshmen Motiejus Krivas (12) and Paulius Murauskas (10) and sophomore Filip Borovicanin (11), with Borovicanin nearly tripling his previous best of four points.

Three were in double figures with almost five minutes left in the first half, and all five starters got there before the first media timeout of the second half.

The UA shot 55.3 percent, including 63.2 percent after halftime, making 12 3s while owning a 49-27 rebounding edge as well as 58-20 on points in the paint. Arizona forced Morgan State into 25 turnovers, converting those into 41 points, while giving it away only seven times.

Arizona led 61-26 at the half, tallying two more rebounds than the Bears had points. Boswell’s fourth triple gave him 16, topping his previous high of 15 set in January at Oregon, to put the Wildcatsup 74-30 with 16:34 remaining.

Jaden Bradley’s transition dunk put the Wildcats over the century mark with 6:55 remaining.

An 11-0 run, with the last two baskets coming off steals, broke open what had been a 13-10 game. Morgan State never got closer than 13 after that, with the Wildcats going on two more runs of 10-plus including a 12-0 run to end the first half.

Arizona’s next home game is Monday against Southern, but not before it takes a major step up in competition Friday at No. 2 Duke. The Blue Devils beat Dartmouth 92-54 in their opener Monday.