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Arizona Holds Off Determined GCU

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Arizona Holds Off Determined GCU

Arizona bashes through against GCU. Jeff Dalton photo.

The Arizona Wildcats got back on winning ways with a 25-13 defeat of Grand Canyon University at GCU.

This was a non-conference crossover game for both teams, but has important rankings ramifications. With Arizona having lost at home to Central Washington last week they were looking to rebound, and they did.

Wing Kyle Fulton raced over in the first two minutes and Robert Figley's conversion made it an early 7-0 lead for the Wildcats. Grand Canyon worked to claw their way back and that pressure resulted in two penalty goals to bring it to a one-point game at 7-6.

Arizona had their chances but let some of those chances fall away before, finally, try-machine Lucas Bartzis was over. That made it 12-6 and it remained that score through halftime. Once again Arizona scored right after the start of the half, and this time Figley popped over a penalty and the Wildcats led 15-6. 

It was a bit of a slog but eventually Arizona got another try with freshman prop Ray Weiner capping off a period of pressure. GCU replied with a key converted try to make it a one-score game at 20-13 with 13 minutes to go.

But Arizona closed it out with Fulton finishing what he started.

For Arizona Director of Rugby Sean Duffy, it was a win, but maybe not a top-drawer performance.

"GCU made us work for it, but we were sloppy," said Duffy. "We had a short week after the loss to Central and we left a lot of points on the board. But huge credit to GCU."

Earlier, Duffy had positive things to say about try-scorer Weiner, who comes to Arizona from Aspetuck Valley in Connecticut, and fellow freshman James Rivers, a Hong Kong U20 lock.

"Can't say enough about those two. They've gotten a first class education the past two weeks and they have great leaders around them to show them the way."