clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Top-ranked Arizona men’s basketball crushes No. 23 Wisconsin

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-wisconsin-badgers-recap-final-score-stats-ranking-pac12-bigten-2023 Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

That’s how you defend the No. 1 ranking.

Fresh off being atop the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in nearly 10 years, Arizona put on the kind of performance that warranted that status, rolling over No. 23 Wisconsin 98-73 on Saturday afternoon at sold-out McKale Center.

The Wildcats (8-0) improved to 11-0 in their first game immediately after going to No. 1, winning those by an average of 30.8 points. The 25-point margin was their largest over a ranked opponent since 2002, and they did so by scoring the most points against Wisconsin (7-3) since 1994.

Arizona shot a season-high 58.3 percent, making 12 3s and dishing out 26 assists on 35 field goals. Five UA players scored in double figures led by Pelle Larsson, who had a career-high 21 on 6-of-6 shooting including 4 of 4 from 3, while Caleb Love went for 20 with seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Oumar Ballo had 15 on 7-of-8 shooting with nine boards, three blocks and two steals, while Keshad Johnson had 11 and 9 and Kylan Boswell had 10 points and a career-high nine assists.

The Badgers shot 41.4 percent and had their biggest margin of defeat since January 2018.

Boswell’s 3 with four seconds left in the first half gave Arizona a 48-31 lead at the break. Wisconsin got within 15 a few minutes in before the Wildcats ran off seven in a row to get the margin over 20, and Larsson’s basket and foul made it 68-45 with 12:09 left.

Larsson’s 4th triple, also a career high, gave the Wildcats an 85-60 lead with 5:30 to go.

Tied at 23 after a Carter Gilmore jumper with 8:50 left in first half, Arizona scored 20 of the next 22 including a 12-0 run to make it 43-25 that featured an emphatic Love dunk off a steal, an alley-oop from him to Ballo and a banked-in 3.

A corner 3 by Max Klesmit with 2:20 left before halftime ended a 6:30 field goal drought for the Badgers, who shot 38.7 percent in the first half.

The UA is off until next Saturday when it clashes with No. 5 Purdue in Indianapolis.