SALT LAKE CITY -- Facing an opponent that thrives on a creating fast tempo and scoring in bunches, Arizona beat it at its own game. Along the way, the Wildcats unveiled the full potential of what this offense may be capable of doing.
Arizona reached the 100-point plateau for the third time in its NCAA Division I history in a 100-82 victory over North Dakota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.
Several players chipped in to propel the offense to new heights. Lauri Markkanen and Rawle Alkins scored 20 points apiece while Allonzo Trier added 18. Arizona scored 54 points in the paint and collected 40 rebounds.
Arizona (31-4) won its fifth straight game and for the 10th time in its last 11 games. The second-seeded Wildcats face No. 7 seed Saint Mary's in Saturday's second round.
"We utilized our size," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "That's important in a game like tonight to play to your strengths."
Quinton Hooker scored 25 points and Drick Bernstine added 20 to lead North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks (22-10) made their NCAA Tournament debut after winning the Big Sky tournament and regular-season championship.
Arizona used a 13-1 run to open up a 24-13 lead midway through the first half. Parker Jackson-Cartwright drained a go-ahead 3-pointer to ignite the run. He bookended it by feeding Allen for a jumper and then scoring a layup on the ensuing possession.
North Dakota trimmed the deficit to seven points twice before halftime, the second time on a Hooker layup that cut Arizona's lead to 28-21. The Wildcats snuffed out the rally behind a flurry of baskets from Markkanen. He converted a pair of three-point plays and drained a jumper over three consecutive possessions to put Arizona ahead 36-24.
The Wildcats led by as many as 17 points in the first half, going up 46-29 after Trier dunked the ball and Jackson-Cartwright tacked on another layup on back-to-back possessions.
"They really dominated the paint in the first half," North Dakota coach Brian Jones said. "We thought we did a good job of fighting and trying to make them battle for catches further out on the floor. But they were so big. They would go and counter it and shoot right over the top of us."
North Dakota briefly threatened the Wildcats after halftime. The Fighting Hawks cut Arizona's lead to 68-61 on a layup from Bernstine with 12:07 remaining.
The Wildcats used a 12-0 run to quell any remaining comeback hopes. It started with a three-point play from Allen and ended with a pair of free throws from Trier and an 80-61 Arizona lead with 7:29 left in the game.
-- Arizona and North Dakota each scored 12 points off turnovers.
-- The Wildcats opened the NCAA Tournament in Salt Lake City for the sixth time in school history. Arizona came to Salt Lake in 1991, 1993, 2000, 2003 and 2013. The Wildcats are 8-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament games in Utah.
-- North Dakota G Quinton Hooker is the Big Sky career leader in made free throws (433). Hooker went 0 of 2 from the line against Arizona.
-- Five Arizona players finished with five or more rebounds, led by Chance Comanche (seven).