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Wildcats hold off Santa Clara

Wildcats hold off Santa Clara
Posted: 11:11 PM, Nov 24, 2016
Updated: 2016-11-25 06:12:13Z

Lauri Markkanen had 16 points and nine rebounds, and No. 8 Arizona held off Santa Clara 69-61 on Thursday night to reach the championship game of the Continental Las Vegas Invitational.

Kobi Simmons added 14 points for the Wildcats (5-0), who will play Butler for the title on Friday.

Arizona's defense in the second half smothered the Broncos, limiting them to 36 percent shooting (9 of 25) over the final 20 minutes. And yet, Santa Clara sliced its deficit to 59-58 when Jared Brownridge drained a long 3-pointer with 4:10 left — the team's fourth consecutive 3 during a 12-4 run.

But then Keanu Pinder converted both ends of a 1-and-1, Santa Clara turned the ball over and Parker Jackson-Cartwright hit a 3 to push Arizona's lead back to 64-58. The Wildcats closed the game on a 10-3 spurt, and the Broncos (3-3) went scoreless over the final 3 minutes.