Markkanen, Trier lead Arizona to 69-60 win over Saint Mary's
Arizona center Dusan Ristic (14) shoots as Saint Mary's center Jock Landale (34) defends during the first half of a second-round college basketball game in the men's NCAA Tournament Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
KAREEM COPELAND, AP Sports Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lauri Markkanen and Allonzo Trier combined for 30 points as Arizona rallied to defeat Saint Mary's 69-60 and advance to the West Regional's Sweet Sixteen on Saturday night.
The Wildcats, seeded No. 2, were on the ropes in the first half but found life in the second half to pull away for the win.
"These guys really knew how Saint Mary's was," Arizona coach Sean Miller said.
"Not until you're actually playing against them do you realize how physical they are, how good they are.
"I look at this as one of the great wins we've had in the tournament because of the team that we beat."
Markkanen finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Trier scored 14 points. Miller said Trier seemed to lose his confidence early but was one of the biggest differences in the game once he got going.
Australian Jock Landale battled with Markkanen and Arizona's bigs throughout and had his 17th double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Gaels.
However, he was held to just seven points after halftime.
"I just tried to be as physical as I can and don't let (Landale) get the ball," Markkanen explained.
Saint Mary's took a 30-29 lead into halftime as the No. 7 seeds controlled the tempo and locked down Arizona defensively for much of the half.
Saint Mary's used a 10-2 run started by a 3-pointer by another of their Australians, Tanner Krebs, to take a 24-14 lead but Arizona found life late in the half and finished on a 15-6 run.
"Our advantage was driving," Miller said. "Our advantage eventually was able to get the ball inside. Getting the ball to the basket whether it be on drive or post catch, we delivered. We scored. We got fouled. That was the big difference."