There were so many things that went wrong for the Arizona Wildcats in their last game at Baylor that it was almost impossible for coach Sean Miller and his staff to fix everything in just a few short days.
But based on Wednesday night’s performance, they came awfully close to plugging all the holes that popped up against Baylor.
Arizona shot 57.6 percent, more than double what it shot in the loss the Baylor, assisted on 25 of 38 field goals and committed just nine turnovers in an easy 99-49 win over Nebraska-Omaha on Wednesday night at McKale Center.
Josh Green and Chase Jeter had 15 points apiece, with Jeter perfect from the field and foul line, Nico Mannion had a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists (tying his career high) and Dylan Smith hit four first-half 3-pointers as the 15th-ranked Wildcats (10-1) led the Mavericks (5-6) from wire to wire.
Five Wildcats scored in double figures, with Ira Lee contributing a season-high 12 points, while Christian Koloko followed up his strong effort at Baylor with five points, 10 rebounds in 13 minutes.
Everything started with Mannion, who had seven assists in the first half and dished out dimes on Arizona’s first three baskets after halftime, reaching a double-double in 20 minutes. He had two turnovers in 26 minutes.
After making just 26.9 percent of its shots at Baylor, the worst field goal rate of the Miller era, Arizona shot 51.4 percent in the first half with five more baskets (19) than it managed in the entire game against the Bears. Mannion and Smith combined to go 7 of 12 from 3, part of a 12-of-26 effort for the Wildcats that included Zeke Nnaji hitting his first career triple.
Arizona was 2 of 18 from 3 at Baylor and had only seven assisted field goals in Waco.
The Wildcats had another strong defensive effort, too, holding Omaha to 26.6 percent shooting while forcing 14 turnovers. Their only flaw on that end, which has been an issue all season, was on the boards, with the Mavericks grabbing 14 offensive rebounds that they converted into 11 second-chance points.
Arizona built a 15-4 lead less than seven minutes into the game thanks to four-minute scoring drought for Omaha, which missed 12 of its first 14 shots. The Wildcats grew the edge to 26-8 on a three-pointer by Smith with 8:10 left, and his fourth triple of the first half put them up 36-13 with 3:52 to go.
At that point, Smith had personally outscored the Mavericks 14-13 before Omaha hit a few late baskets to trail by 43-23 at halftime.
The Wildcats return to much stiffer competition on Saturday night against sixth-ranked Gonzaga. The Bulldogs (10-1) already have wins over Pac-12 schools Oregon and Washington and bring an eight-game road win streak into McKale.