- Category: Sports
- Created on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 23:11
- Written by Super User
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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)
Arizona (9-0) pulled off an improbable victory over then-No. 5 Florida on Saturday and leaves for a tournament in Hawaii on Thursday. The Wildcats had no trouble keeping their focus, racing out to a 17-point first-half lead and shooting 57 percent overall.
Brandon Ashley added 14 points for Arizona, off to its best start since opening 12-0 in 1987-88.
Oral Roberts (5-5) has a history of knocking off power programs, but never had a shot against the rolling Wildcats.
The Golden Eagles shot 38 percent and leading scorer Warren Niles was frustrated most of the night, turning it over eight times and scoring most of his 22 points after the game was out of reach.
Shawn Glover added 18 points for Oral Roberts.
The Wildcats capped one of the more memorable days in the history of the athletic program Saturday night, rallying from six points down in the final 56 seconds to shock Florida at McKale Center. Lyons provided the highlight-reel shot, flipping a layup high off the glass over the outstretched arm of Gators' 6-foot-9 center Patric Young with 7 seconds left for a victory that moved the Wildcats up four spots in the AP Top 25 for their highest ranking since 2004.
Earlier in the day, Arizona's football team scored twice in the final minute to beat Nevada 49-48 in the New Mexico Bowl.
With that emotional high and a trip to the Diamond Head Classic coming up, the Wildcats needed all of their focus to not overlook Oral Roberts.
And the Golden Eagles appeared to be a team Arizona couldn't afford to look past.
Oral Roberts won 27 games last season and was picked to win the Southland Conference this year after returning all five starters. The Golden Eagles also have a history of knocking off opponents from power conferences under coach Scott Sutton, including No. 8 Xavier at home last year, No. 13 New Mexico in 2009 and No. 3 Kansas in 2006.
They also have Niles, an athletic, 6-foot-5 guard who's 12th nationally with 20.9 points per game and had scored at least 26 in three straight.
Turns out, there was no worry about a letdown.
Crisp on offense and aggressive on defense, the Wildcats hit five of their first six shots and forced five turnovers in the first four minutes to take a quick eight-point lead.
Arizona didn't let up, either, pushing the lead to 45-31 by halftime after hitting 17 of 27 shots, including 7 of 11 from 3-point range. Lyons had 14 points, Johnson 12.
The Wildcats were just as good on defense, particularly against Niles.
Johnson stripped Niles on his first touch and hounded the senior around the court, denying the ball, getting help when the Golden Eagles set screens to break him loose.
Niles got three free throws when he was fouled nearly 30 feet from the basket, but was swatted by Angelo Chol on a drive his next touch and didn't hit a shot until dropping in a contested 3-pointer at 2:00. Niles had consecutive shots blocked inside in the closing seconds of the half and was 2-for-8 from the floor, scoring half his 10 points on free throws.
Oral Roberts hit 11 of 30 shots and had 11 turnovers in the first half.
Arizona gave the Golden Eagles no hope of making a comeback, scoring the first 11 points of the second half to go up 56-31.
Oral Roberts missed its first six shots, and even after knocking a few down spent most of the second half trailing by 20 or more.
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