PHOENIX — Deandre Ayton had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Arizona held on to beat No. 7 Texas A&M 67-64 on Tuesday night.
Arizona (6-3) picked up a big win against UNLV on Saturday and notched an even bigger one in front of a pro-Wildcats crowd that made Talking Stick Arena feel like McKale Center west.
It wasn’t easy.
Texas A&M (7-1) pulled within 63-62 on Tyler Davis’ jump-hook with 17 seconds left. Brandon Randolph twice hit 1 of 2 free throws, sandwiched around a travel by Davis, and Duane Wilson was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 2 seconds left. He made two after missing the first attempt, and Dylan Smith made two at the other end to put Arizona up 67-64.
Texas A&M’s Robert Williams missed badly on a long 3-pointer to send the Wildcats rushing off the bench and the Aggies to their first defeat.
Davis led the Aggies with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Texas A&M moved up two spots in the AP Top 25 this week after beating No. 25 Southern California and Texas-Rio Grande Valley last week.
Arizona dropped out of the AP Top 25 from No. 2 after a disastrous 0-3 trip to the Bahamas, becoming the first team since Louisville in 1986 to fall out from No. 2 to unranked.
The Wildcats bounced back to rout Long Beach State at home, though coach Sean Miller went on a long post-game rant about his team’s defensive effort. Arizona had more defensive problems in the first half at UNLV, but rallied to beat the Runnin’ Rebels 91-88 in overtime.
The Wildcats had some shaky defensive moments and a rash of turnovers early but turned up the defensive pressure, holding the Aggies to 1-for-11 shooting during a 13-2 run to take a seven-point lead.
Texas A&M rallied as the Wildcats kept passing the ball to them on sloppy turnovers and took a 31-29 lead at halftime despite Williams going scoreless and taking one shot.
Texas A&M held up well on a neutral court that wasn’t exactly neutral, but couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch.
Arizona appears to be back on track after its disappointing trip to the Bahamas.
Texas A&M hosts Prairie View A&M on Saturday.
Arizona has another tough game on Saturday, when it hosts Alabama.
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