BERKELEY, Calif. -- Zeke Nnaji had 21 points and five rebounds, and Arizona overcame a sluggish game offensively to beat California, 68-52, on Thursday night Feb. 13.
Dylan Smith added 14 points and Nico Mannion had 10 points and five assists to help the Wildcats (17-7, 7-4 Pac-12) bounce back from a home loss to UCLA that knocked Arizona out of the Top 25.
Matt Bradley had 19 points and eight rebounds for California (10-4, 4-7). The Golden Bears have lost three straight and four of six.
Nnaji dominated on a night when Arizona’s offense sputtered. The Wildcats committed only 10 turnovers but most were unforced errors.
Arizona also struggled beyond the arc where it was 3 of 13 until Smith made back-to-back shots and Max Hazzard added a third. That capped a 15-4 run that put Arizona ahead 62-43.
The Wildcats led comfortably most of the first half, despite only scoring 27 points, then got a big defensive play before halftime when Jemarl Baker Jr. blocked Paris Austin’s three-point attempt.
The 27 points in the opening half were the third-fewest scored by Arizona this season.
The Bears had a six-minute scoreless stretch in the first half and a four-minute drought in the second.
Arizona has won eight straight over California. The Wildcats cross the San Francisco Bay for their next game, at Stanford on Saturday, Feb. 15.