Pili’s late free throws push No. 10 Utah past No. 14 Arizona

Sports

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Alissa Pili scored 27 points, including the winning free throws with 0.3 seconds left, to lead No. 10 Utah to an 80-79 victory over No. 14 Arizona on Sunday.

Pili went 11 of 16 from the field, while Gianna Kneepkens finished with 20 points and seven rebounds for the Utes (15-1, 5-1 Pac-12). Issy Palmer added 10 points. Utah snapped a five-game losing streak against Arizona dating back to 2019.

Cate Reese tallied 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead Arizona (14-4, 4-3). Jade Loville finished with 17 points and Esmery Martinez and Shaina Pellington chipped in 10 apiece for the Wildcats, who lost their second straight game.

Arizona trailed by eight points in the third quarter before rallying to take a 75-73 lead with 1:08 left in the game on Helena Pueyo’s jumper that capped a 6-0 spurt.

Kneepkens countered with a 3-point play on the other end and followed with a pair of free throws to put Utah back ahead. Paris Clark scored back-to-back baskets — the second off a steal — to give the Wildcats a 79-78 lead with 1.6 seconds left.

Pili was fouled before time expired, and her free throws helped the Utes avoid their first home loss of the season.

Pili made her first eight field-goal attempts and went a perfect 7 of 7 from the floor before halftime.

Arizona kept pace with the Utes behind their own efficient shooting, going 58% from the field in the first half. Utah was up 42-40 at half before the lead changed again. But Utah surged back in front 55-47 late in the third quarter after Arizona missed 10 of 11 shots over an eight-minute stretch.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona: The Wildcats avoided enduring another sluggish start and generated several baskets from attacking the paint and getting out in transition. Arizona outscored Utah 18-4 in fast-break points.

Utah: Pili showed once again why she is a national player of the year candidate. The junior forward put the Utes on her shoulders and carried the offense at critical junctures.

UP NEXT

Arizona: Visits Arizona State on Jan. 22.

Utah: Visits No. 2 Stanford on Friday.

___

AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25