Deandre Ayton is a 7-foot-1 superhuman. Washington State’s frontcourt is undersized at best.
The two matched up Wednesday and it went as expected.
Arizona’s transcendent big man had 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks as the No. 9 Arizona Wildcats embarrassed the Cougars 100-72 in Pullman — UA’s third-highest point total all season.
Ayton was 11-of-12 from the field and had a double-double with two minutes left in the first half.
UA guard Allonzo Trier was equally impressive on the perimeter, scoring 24 points on a flawless 8-8 shooting, including four 3s.
The duo paced an Arizona offense that shot 61 percent. WSU, led by 25 points from Robert Franks, shot just 41 percent.
It’s Arizona’s seventh win in a row and 16th in their last 17 games. The Wildcats (19-4, 9-1 Pac-12) now have a one-game lead over the USC Trojans atop the Pac-12 standings.
UA has been notorious for letting big leads slip away this season, but that would not be an issue Wednesday.
This game was close for about 10 minutes before Arizona pulled away and never looked back.
WSU’s Carter Skaggs hit a corner 3 to tie the game at 20 with 11:51 in the first half, but Arizona answered with a 25-5 run to take a 45-25 lead and eventually led 53-34 at halftime.
Rawle Alkins had 11 first-half points off the bench and finished with 16 on 6-8 shooting, shaking off some early rust after he had missed the last two games because of foot soreness.
Alkins air-balled a fallaway jumper, had two fouls and a committed a turnover in his first two minutes on the court, but then caught fire and sank three first-half 3s (in a one-minute span, no less).
In all, he was 4-4 from distance in just 16 minutes.
So much was made about WSU’s proficiency at the 3-point line heading into this game, but the Wildcats outclassed them there — and everywhere else.
Arizona outrebounded WSU 42-23, had a 52-22 edge in points in the paint, and shot 10-of-17 from 3 while WSU was 9-of-24
Reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week Dusan Ristic had 12 points and 9 rebounds on 5-10 shooting.
Arizona’s bench even outscored WSU’s 37-27 (though that included Alkins’ production).
Alex Barcello (4), Brandon Randolph (7), Emmanuel Akot (3), and Ira Lee (1) all scored, and the walk-ons even got some run, much to their teammates’ delight. (and shoutout to Barcello for diving for two loose balls when the game was way out of hand).
Arizona played as well as it has all season, and it was all fun and games by the time the final buzzer sounded, but the Wildcats will have a much more difficult challenge Saturday when they face the zone-laden Washington Huskies in Seattle.
UW (15-6, 5-3 Pac-12) is in third place in the conference, and projects as an NCAA Tournament team.
Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. MST on the Pac-12 Network.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire