September 15, 2015

Watching his team execute sporadically over the last three weeks has given Arizona coach Sean Miller plenty of headaches.

It was nothing a much-needed rout couldn't cure - at least for now.

The 13th-ranked Wildcats look to build on one of their most complete performances of the season Wednesday night when they host a Northern Arizona team that has yet to beat a Division I school.

Arizona (9-1) won its first four games by an average of 19.8 points before heading to California for the Wooden Legacy tournament over Thanksgiving. There, it needed overtime to beat then-winless Santa Clara, lost to now-No. 14 Providence and kept just enough distance to pull out a win over Boise State.

Things didn't get any easier when the Wildcats left. They faced a 10-point halftime deficit at then-No. 13 Gonzaga before winning 68-63 on Dec. 5 and trailed Fresno State by three at the half of an 85-72 home win last Wednesday.

Miller finally could relax for the majority of Sunday's 88-52 drubbing of Missouri, as Mark Tollefsen's 17 points and Gabe York's 16 led six players in double figures.

Pac-12 player of the week Allonzo Trier finished with 15. The freshman is averaging 17.3 points while shooting 72.7 percent from the field - including 5 of 9 from 3-point range - during the Wildcats' four-game winning streak.

''We strung two halves together, which in the past two games we really haven't been able to do that,'' Miller said. ''It's not necessarily who we were playing, but who we were.''

The Wildcats shot a season-high 56.4 percent and held a 44-27 advantage on the boards despite not having 7-foot center Kaleb Tarczewski for a fifth straight game because of a foot injury. They held the Tigers to 30.4 percent from the field, the worst shooting performance for an opponent on the year.

That all-around effort extended Arizona's home winning streak to 44, the longest in the nation.

''I've been waiting for that (type of performance) for a long time,'' York said.

There's little reason to believe the Wildcats won't continue rolling against Northern Arizona (2-6). The Wildcats have won the past 30 meetings, with the last two being decided by a combined 76 points.

The Lumberjacks haven't won in Tucson since 1966 and are 0-4 in true road games after falling 72-55 to Bakersfield on Dec. 5 when they shot 28.1 percent - their worst performance since shooting 25.0 percent in a loss to UNLV in 2012.

NAU had two assists, becoming only the third Division I team to finish with fewer than three in a game this season. Leading scorer Kris Yanku was the only player in double figures with 13 points.

The Lumberjacks played much better in their previous two, losing by four to Norfolk State on Nov. 30 before dropping a 98-94 double-overtime thriller to Hampton on Dec. 2.

"We have to continue to get better," coach Jack Murphy told the team's official website. "These games right now are about learning and toughness. The games come January are about heart.

"Two assists and 13 turnovers are not the stats we're trying to produce. There are positives to take from it, but we still have a lot of learning to do."

Northern Arizona's victories this season have come against Division II Embry-Riddle and NAIA's San Diego Christian.

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