NEW YORK - The Arizona Wildcats hit nine first-half three pointers and wore out St. John's down the stretch to win a 2K Sports Classic semifinal game 81-72 tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Solomon Hill had 15 points for the Wildcats, while Jesse Perry had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Arizona will now face Mississippi State in the 2K Sports Classic final today at about 5 p.m. Tucson time.
St. John's lead 68-67 with 4:22 to go but Solomon Hill made two three pointers and Kyle Fogg hit a three shortly thereafter while UA went on to outscore St. John's 13-4 the rest of the way.
There was a minor scuffle toward the end of the game that involved UA guard Josiah Turner and several other players on both sides but officials did not call a foul after reviewing what happened.
St. John's Nurideen Lindsey fouled out with 4:02 left, crippling St. John's ability to make a late run.
Early in the second half, St. John's went on a 13-2 run to take a 62-56 lead by the time Nurideen Lindsey scored with 9:59 to go.
In the first half, seven Wildcats hit three pointers while Arizona took a 44-41 halftime lead. Hill led UA with nine points, while Perry had six rebounds.
After some initial turnover trouble, the Wildcats rebounded thanks to their shooting and depth. With Kevin Parrom playing his second game since returning from gunshot wounds in September, hitting 2 of 4 three-pointers himself in front of hometown friends and family, six other Wildcats hit long-range shots.
Arizona was 9 for 17 overall from three. The most it had made previously so far this season was eight, against Ball State last Sunday.
Nick Johnson hit his first three late in the half, cutting St. John's lead to 34-32 with four minutes to go. Before that, it was Kyle Fogg making his first three three-pointer, cutting St. John's lead to 32-29 with 5:43 left. Fogg missed his first two three-point attempts.
St. John's had gone ahead 31-26 on a short jumper by Malik Stith after the Red Storm pulled down the rebound on God'sgift Achiuwa's missed free throw.
The game was tied at several times midway through the half.
Parrom and Hill both made two early three-pointers. Hill was only 1 for 5 from three over UA's first three games.
Arizona led 19-17 with 11:27 left, after a turnover by Sidiki Johnson on last play before time out.
Turner, who came off the bench behind Jordin Mayes, hit a three pointer shortly after entering game at the first media timeout. Turner was playing his first game since sitting out Sunday's UA-Ball State game.
Parrom hit UA's first field goal, a three-pointer with 16:30 left. He entered two minutes into the game, while UA moved out center Kyryl Natyazhko, and UA went with a small lineup for most of the first half.