Koloko, Arizona overpower Wright State in NCAA 1st round

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Christian Koloko scored 17 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and keyed a big second-half surge for top-seeded Arizona, which beat No. 16 Wright State 87-70 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.

Bennedict Mathurin scored 18 points and Dalen Terry had 16 for the Wildcats (32-3), who were cheered on by thousands of red-clad fans who made the drive from Tucson. Arizona won its seventh straight game and earned its first NCAA Tournament win since beating Saint Mary’s in the second round in 2017. First-year coach Tommy Lloyd, a longtime assistant at Gonzaga, has Arizona in the NCAAs for the first time since 2018.

Arizona advanced to face the winner of the nightcap between No. 8 Seton Hall and No. 9 TCU in the South Region.

Grant Basile scored 21 points and Trey Calvin had 16 for Wright State (22-14), which beat Bryant 93-82 in a First Four game not far from its campus in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday night. The Raiders took a redeye flight to San Diego after their first NCAA Tournament victory.

Arizona led by 16 points late in the first half and was up 42-31 at halftime before the undersized Raiders – a 21 1/2-point underdog, according to FanDuel Sportsbook – pulled within 49-42 on a 3-pointer and a three-point play from Basile.

That woke up the Wildcats, who responded with a 15-2 run keyed by Koloko. The 7-foot-1 center from Cameroon had seven points in the run, including an alley-oop dunk, a hook shot and three free throws. Koloko, who had only four points in the first half, had two dunks in the final minutes of the game and finished with six assists.


Wright State also got 15 points from Tim Finke. Tanner Holden was held to 12 points after scoring 37 points and clearing 11 rebounds in the First Four game.

Arizona was back in action for the first time since an impressive run through the Pac-12 Tournament, capped by a big comeback win over UCLA. Arizona also won the regular-season title.

Wright State beats Bryant 93-82 for NCAA Tournament win

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

DAYTON, Ohio — Tanner Holden had 37 points and 11 rebounds and Wright State beat Bryant 93-82 on Wednesday night for its first NCAA Tournament victory.

Playing inside the University of Dayton Arena just 12 miles from its home court, Wright State (22-13) advanced to play top-seeded Arizona in San Diego on Friday in the West Region.

“It was a frantic-paced game,” Wright State coach Scott Nagy said. “We haven’t had many teams this year come at us like that just after every make and miss and turnover.”

Holden was 11 of 15 from the field. Tyler Calvin added 21 points, and Grant Basile had 14.

Peter Kiss, the NCAA’s leading scorer, led Bryant (22-10) with 28 points.

“Our guys played hard enough to win, we just didn’t play well enough to win,” Bryant coach Jared Grasso said.

The Raiders led 44-42 at halftime behind 20 points from Holden.

Both teams were seeded 16th.


Kiss entered the game averaging 25.1 points per game.

Wright State guard Tim Finke drew the assignment of guarding Kiss. Finke forced Kiss to make four turnovers and shoot below his season average of 45.6% from the field.

“Tim’s a fantastic defender. We’ve known that all year,” Basile said. “He made him work for it.”


Holden made a season-high 14 free throws, including a perfect 8-for-8 clip in the first half. He finished just one point shy of tying his career high.

“I think it was definitely a good booster for us,” Holden said. “Emotionally, I thought the crowd did a great job being energetic and getting into it. It’s awesome to be able to do this, like Grant said, in your backyard.”


Located east of Dayton, Wright State made its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance. The Raiders won the Horizon League Tournament in 2018 but lost to No. 3 Tennessee in the first round.

After navigating off-the-court adversity in which five players were impacted by the deaths of a parent or grandparent, Wright State etched program history while banding behind the mantra, “Brotherhood over Basketball.”

“This is the first one and will always be the first one,” Nagy said. “Where we did it, how we did it, all those things, I mean, it’s a lifetime moment for these guys.”


Bryant: The Bulldogs shot a season-low 16.7% from 3-point range, going 1 for 13 in the second half.

Wright State: The Raiders had 44 rebounds, their second-most of the season. They have 13 offensive rebounds.


Wright State: Vs. No. 1 Arizona on Friday in San Diego.

“I think we’re all confident and we’re going there to win,” Holden said. “We’re not just going there for the experience of March Madness.”