TUCSON, Ariz. — Zeke Nnaji scored 26 points, made all eight of his shots and grabbed 11 rebounds, helping No. 19 Arizona trounce San Jose State 87-39 on Thursday night.
Arizona (3-0) dominated a third straight opponent to open the season, shutting down the Spartans (1-2) defensively from the opening tip.
The Wildcats held San Jose State to 23% shooting, including 2 for 18 from 3-point range, and used a big run to build a 21-point halftime lead.
Nnaji continued the efficient shooting to start his college career. He is a combined 25 for 31 through three games, and he also was 10 of 12 on free throws against the Spartans.
Arizona rolled over Northern Arizona State in its opener and blew past Illinois in the second half when the freshman trio of Nnaji, Nico Mannion and Josh Green combined for 62 of the Wildcats’ 90 points.
San Jose State opened the season by ending a 21-game road losing streak with a 79-71 win at Hofstra. The Spartans followed that up with a 15-point loss to Portland in their home opener.
San Jose State got off to an awful start at McKale Center, turning it over four times and missing three shots first 2 1/2 minutes. The Spartans only got marginally better the rest of the half, shooting 7 of 33, including 1 for 7 from the 3-point arc.
San Jose State also had no answer for Nnaji. The 6-foot-11 freshman bulled past and over the Spartans, hitting all five of his shots in the first half for 12 points and six rebounds.
Arizona took control of the first half by closing with a 20-4 run to lead 37-16.
The Wildcats got sloppy to open the second half, turning it over five times in the first four minutes. San Jose State took advantage, using a 9-0 run to pull within 40-26.
The Spartans resumed missing shots — some at point-blank range — and Arizona raced away with a 21-2 run to go up 61-28.
San Jose State had some nice stretches, particularly at the beginning of the second half, but needed to play a near-perfect game to have any chance against the Wildcats.
Arizona played like it should — except the turnovers starting the second half — against a team that won eight combined games the previous two seasons.
San Jose State hosts Simpson on Sunday.