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(Wednesday, November 27th)
Final Score: (4) Arizona 66, Drexel 62
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Nick Johnson had 20 points and fourth- ranked Arizona rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit to beat Drexel, 66-62, in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Kaleb Tarczewski added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Aaron Gordon totaled 10 points and 13 boards for the Wildcats (6-0), who will play No. 6 Duke in the title game Friday. T.J. McConnell also had 11 points.
Chris Fouch scored 29 and Frantz Massenat added 17 points for the Dragons (3-2), who scored the game's first nine points and led 27-8 before the Wildcats rallied late in the first half. Drexel junior guard Damion Lee, who came into the game the team's second-leading scorer, was helped off the court midway through the second half with an apparent right knee injury.
Arizona had 10 turnovers in the first half and shot 6-of-23 from the field. Fouch had 16 first-half points, but poor shooting from the Dragons prevented them from widening their lead.
The Dragons, who will tangle with Alabama Friday in the consolation game, were up 41-38 with under 12 minutes left, but Massenat appeared to turn his left ankle after driving in for a layup. He came back into the game a short time later.
Lee was hurt after landing awkwardly on his follow-through of a jump shot. He remained on the court wincing in pain and holding his right knee until being helped to the locker room with 10:15 remaining.
Despite the injuries, the Dragons went ahead 45-44 with just over eight minutes left on a Fouch jumper.
A dunk from Tarczewski and a 3-pointer from Johnson gave the Wildcats a 49-45 lead. They widened the margin to 59-49 following a 3-pointer from McConnell with under two minutes left, and Arizona sank enough free throws down the stretch.
Arizona had five turnovers before five minutes expired in the game. The Dragons took advantage, and two free throws from Fouch capped the opening 9-0 burst. His 3-pointer made it 27-8 with nearly seven minutes left in the half.
The Wildcats scored the next 11 points and were within 29-20 at the half.
"We shared the ball a lot more in the second half," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "And I hope that playing together is always the right recipe, because part of why we had 20 at the half, and 46 the second half, is we were much more willing to share the ball and pass it."
Arizona improved to 21-2 all-time in the NIT Season Tip-Off, including an 8-1 mark at Madison Square Garden ... Both teams shot under 38 percent ... Rodney Williams had four blocks for Drexel .. Lee will sit out the consolation game Friday and will be reevaluated by a doctor.
11/27 23:49:14 ET
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