Oct. 22, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - Four Wildcat freshmen combined for 49 points in Arizona's annual Red-Blue Game as the Red squad prevailed, 67-54, in front of a sold-out McKale Center crowd of 14,601.
"I'd like to thank the fans for coming out the way they did, giving us an atmosphere that few college basketball programs ever get to see," said head coach Sean Miller. "We have a lot of young, new guys who are learning our program, and some of our returning players are learning new roles for this season. There were a lot of glimpses of good, but after only 16 days, there is still a lot that have to work on in order to be ready for our first games."
Jesse Perry led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting including 3-for-4 beyond the arc.
Freshman Sidiki Johnson was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from three-point range and finished with 18 points and three boards.
Six Wildcats hit threes, highlighted by Brendon Lavender's 4-for-6 night from behind the arc. The senior finished with 15 points. As a team, Arizona shot 47 percent from three-point range.
In the second half, Red's frontcourt of Kyryl Natyazhko and Perry proved to be too much for Blue to handle as the Red team extended its lead and cruised to the 13-point win. The two combined for 25 of the team's 40 second-half points and finished with 20 and 13 points for the game, respectively.
The Red team took a 27-26 lead after the first 12-minute half.
In their first action in McKale Center, the Arizona newcomers led the charge in the first half. Nick Johnson led all scorers with 10 points at the break while Chol corralled a game-high five boards before halftime.
The intrasquad scrimmage was filled with pre-game pageantry that electrified the crowd.
"This was definitely the loudest Red-Blue game I've seen," said Hill. "With NBA players and Lute Olson coming back, of course it was going to be loud. It was a great feeling to see all the guys come back here to support us, especially seeing Derrick (Williams) again. It's awesome to see him come back to be honored."
The Arizona wheelchair basketball team got the festivities started as it held its own Red-Blue game.
Former Wildcat greats and active professionals Michael Dickerson, Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, Jerryd Bayless, Derrick Williams, Andre Iguodala, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, Jason Terry and Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson were introduced to ignite the crowd.
"Obviously it means a lot to us to have all these former players here for today's scrimmage," said Miller. "They are a big part of our culture, as the guys who played today are a major part of our future."
Williams and Budinger received inductions into the Arizona Basketball Ring of Honor prior to the game. Terry was recognized as the sixth Wildcat to win an NBA Championship at halftime.
Iguodala, Frye, Jefferson and mascot Wilbur T. Wildcat served as the judges for the dunk contest. Freshman Nick Johnson was crowned champion after tossing an alley-oop to himself, whipping it through his legs and slamming home the contest-winning dunk.