Aug. 11, 2012
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NASSAU, Bahamas - The University of Arizona men's basketball team placed eight players in double figures Saturday in racing to a 136-66 exhibition win over the Real Deal Shockers at Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium.
The Wildcats, playing its first of two games on its current tour of the Bahamas, connected on 14-of-22 (.640) shots in the first quarter and jumped out to a 38-17 lead in the opening period.
After missing its first three shots, a Brandon Ashley field goal at the 9:42 mark started a run that saw Arizona make 11 consecutive field goals and hold a 26-9 advantage. Kevin Parrom and Nick Johnson were key early on, combining for 17 first-quarter points on 6-of-10 shooting.
The contest wasn't close from that point, as the Wildcats dominated in every statistical category. In addition to UA's 136 points and 64 percent shooting (54-of-85), the Cats outrebounded Real Deal, 54-26, collected 32 assists and limited the opposition to just 30 percent shooting (23-of-76). UA also made 16-of-30 attempts (.530) from three-point range.
Parrom led all scorers with 21 points, while Mark Lyons added 18 points and Solomon Hill chipped in with 17. Johnson contributed 13 points, eight rebounds and a game-high six steals. Ashley added 14 points and 10 rebounds for good measure.
Arizona built a 68-28 lead at the half, closing the first half with a 15-2 run over the last 4:24 to all but end things. First-year players Lyons, Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski combined for 13 points in the run.
In addition to its shooting, Arizona moved the ball well, collecting those 32 assists on 54 made field goals. Of the 12 Wildcats to see action Saturday, 10 collected at least one assist.
Arizona next will be in action on Monday, when the team takes on the Bahamas All-Stars in Isaacs Gymnasium at 5 p.m. EDT.
Notes: Whereas yesterday was a beach day for the Cats, today was one for the water slides as a majority of the team spent the better part of the morning riding repeatedly one of Atlantis' nine water slides. A particular favorite was the 120-foot Power Tower, featuring The Abyss, a dark drop into a pool below, or the Mayan Temple, which featured the Leap of Faith, an equally steep slide which took the plunge through a shark tank.
Aside from the adrenaline rush of the water slides, many of the guys also enjoyed the Current and Rapids, a mile-long inner tube float trip, featuring a number of waves, rapids and other twists and turns.
** Not every Wildcat took to the water Saturday afternoon, as some heeded the words of Coach Miller, who told the team Friday after practice, "Hey, be careful out there. If you don't know how to swim, you aren't going to learn today." A sage bit of advice that drew howls of laughter from the guys.
** It's the little things that make a difference when playing in a foreign country, and transportation is definitely one of them. When traveling from the Atlantis to Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium, the Cats are being delivered by two Majestic Tour buses - one for the players and one for coaches and support staff. The buses do the job (think of two public transportation-type buses, not a standard charter bus), but the separation is interesting and does allow for a little game planning by the staff en route. Certainly the players are equally as focused in their motor coach.
** We always marvel at the way the Cats are supported wherever they play and the Bahamas was no different as about 80 UA faithful were in attendance Saturday evening, including former Cat greats Harvey Mason and Miles Simon. The only thing missing was the pep band.
** It's not uncommon for a Wildcat to make his debut on the road, but it is uncommon to make such a debut in a foreign land. Add to the mix the fact that he's wearing his hometown school's colors and just the prospect of playing made for a unique evening for Tucson's Matt Korcheck. When asked of putting on the Cardinal and Navy for the first time before the game, he said, "Oh, this is a very special day for me. It's a dream come true to wear this uniform. I have a lot of emotions going through my head right now and I'm working hard to stay focused."
** To see game officials Chris Rastatter and Ashley Gilpin on the UA team bus this afternoon elicited more than one double take. But in Sean Miller's continuing effort to leave no stone unturned, he decided to bring his own officials to ensure that a quality game was called. For those who know, Rastatter and Gilpin are Tucsonans and quality officials. Incidentally, Gilpin, a former UA women's basketball player, just recently completed law school.