TUCSON - It’s getting to be a familiar script.
Arizona’s Hassan Adams led a second-half charge, scoring 18 of his season-high 27 points after the break, and the 24th-ranked Wildcats rallied for a 73-61 win over Saint Mary’s on Saturday.
‘‘I am not going to lose,’’ said Adams, who also had eight rebounds. ‘‘I’m going to do what it takes, if it is offense or rebounding. My team feeds off me. I need to try to set the example.’’
Arizona (4-3) tied a season high with 15 steals and forced the Gaels (1-3) into 24 turnovers. Daniel Kickert, averaging 21 points a game for Saint Mary’s, was scoreless at halftime and finished with seven points, going 2-of-12 from the field. Ivan Radenovic did most of the work on Kickert and had nine points and nine rebounds, just missing a third consecutive double-double.
But the Wildcats couldn’t shake their season-long problem with 3-point shooting. After going 4-for-22 against Northern Arizona on Thursday, they were 0-for-10 against Saint Mary’s.
Brett Collins led Saint Mary’s with 13 points. Freshman Diamon Simpson had 12 points and nine rebounds, and Todd Golden scored 10 points.
Saint Mary’s led most of the game, including a 34-27 lead at halftime.
Adams had 15 points in the second half against Northern Arizona, and this game was similar. He scored six in the opening 4:40 of the second half, during a charge that carried the Wildcats to a 40-39 lead with 14:19 left in the game — their first lead since the opening minutes.
Simpson had a basket at the 14:04 mark for the Gaels’ last lead, 41-40.
But Adams answered with a basket, starting a 13-6 run.
John Winston, a 2004-05 midseason transfer from UNLV who became eligible Friday, shot the Gaels into an early 7-2 lead with a 3-pointer, and they stretched it to 16-8 on a 3-pointer by Ian O’Leary with 13:26 left in the first half. Winston and Collins scored three points each as the Gaels outscored Arizona 8-1 before the half ended.
BONUS SHOT: Guard Jesus Verdejo will transfer to Miami, Arizona coach Lute Olson.
Verdejo, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Carolina, Puerto Rico, opted to redshirt this season after seeing little playing time as a freshman in 2004-05, when he averaged 2.3 points.