New York • Arizona was on the wrong end of a big score and finally did enough things right to advance to the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The fourth-ranked Wildcats were down 27-8 to Drexel with 7 minutes left in the first half Wednesday. They closed the deficit to nine at halftime and then went on to much tougher than expected 66-62 victory.
"I think the story line for this game may be that Arizona was overlooking Drexel but that's the furthest thing from the truth," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "We watched every tape and invested a lot of time and it became apparent to me we were in for a handful."
It was a lot more than a handful early.
Nick Johnson scored 20 points and freshman Aaron Gordon had 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Wildcats, who used a 25-4 run spanning halftime to wipe out the 19-point deficit and take their first lead of the game, 33-31 on a basket by Brandon Ashley with 16:11 to play.
That was the first of 11 lead changes in a span of 81/2 minutes as the Dragons stayed around a lot longer than most thought they would.
"Down 19 points is a pretty good lesson right there," Miller said. "We were on the verge of getting blown out. In the second half we shared the ball and we were patient."
• No. 3 Kentucky 81, Eastern Michigan 63
• No. 4 Arizona 66, Drexel 62
• No. 6 Duke 74,Alabama 64
• No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 18 Baylor, late
• No. 10 Wisconsin 70, West Virginia 63
• No. 11 Gonzaga 91, Arkansas 81