Ever since losing three straight in the Bahamas, the Arizona Wildcats have been eager to get back on the court and put the Battle 4 Atlantis debacle behind them.
“We want to get back to ourselves,” UA freshman Brandon Randolph said Tuesday.
They did that Wednesday in their first game back in the States.
Arizona (4-3) routed the Long Beach State 49ers 91-56 in McKale Center to snap its three-game losing streak.
The Wildcats’ yearning to redeem themselves resulted in an offensive flurry reminiscent of those it had before heading to the Bahamas.
Arizona shot 60 percent from the field and 12-22 from 3, and led by as many as 23 points in the first half, before outscoring the 49ers 49-32 in the second half.
Six Wildcats scored in double figures.
Deandre Ayton had 13 points (6-6 FG), nine rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes. Once again he flashed his array of skills, hitting a 3 and making some stellar passes from the post.
Allonzo Trier had 15 points and four assists on 6-7 shooting (3-4 from 3) and Parker Jackson-Cartwright had a season-high 12 points to go along with five assists and three steals.
Alex Barcello sank three 3s and had a career-high 11 points, while Ira Lee added nine points (4-5 FG), and Dusan Ristic finished with eight points (4-6 FG) and nine rebounds.
Randolph got off to a slow start, missing his first three shots, but finished with 10 points (eight in the second half) on 3-10 shooting in his first career start.
Early in the second half, Long Beach State (3-5) made five straight field goals to cut UA’s lead to 13, but layups by Ristic, Lee, and Trier pushed the Wildcats’ advantage back to 21 with 11:58 left to end the 49ers’ rally.
The Wildcats turned in one of their better defensive performances of the season, holding the 49ers to a 41.2 shooting percentage, including a 6-20 mark from 3.
Arizona’s defensive rebounding has been an issue this season, but it limited a decent offensive rebounding LBSU team to seven offensive boards and six second-chance points.
Arizona also did a better job with its transition defense, holding a usually high-octane 49er offense to four fast break points. It helped that Arizona only committed 12 turnovers.
If there was any downside in Arizona’s win, it was the performance of its wings. Emmanuel Akot hit a 3 immediately after checking in in the first half, but only played five minutes.
Dylan Smith scored seven points on 2-8 shooting and shot 1-5 from 3, while Randolph shot 0-4 from 3.
Still, Arizona was able to instill some normalcy before Saturday’s game against the UNLV Rebels — the Wildcats’ first true road test of the season.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire