Nov. 1, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - Arizona rebounded from a sluggish start to down Humboldt State, 60-51, Tuesday at McKale Center in the Wildcats' final exhibition game of the season.
The Wildcats dominated the game in certain statistical categories; UA outrebounded the Lumberjacks 49-23, outshot the `Jacks 41% to 33%, hit 12 more free throws and committed 19 fewer fouls.
However, UA had double the turnovers (20-10) and hit only 58% of its free throws to keep Humboldt State in the game until breaking away at the end. Five straight points from Angelo Chol opened up a 10-point lead for the Cats with 3:11 remaining. HSU would not come within eight points the rest of the way.
"Obviously we have a long way to go, but we know a lot more about our team now than we did two weeks ago," said head coach Sean Miller.
All 10 Cats who played scored, led by Jesse Perry with 12. The senior snagged a double-double as he pulled in a team-high 14 boards.
UA's starting frontcourt - Perry and Kyryl Natyazhko - combined for 26 rebounds, half of which came on the offensive end. The two combined for three rebounds in Arizona's loss to Seattle Pacific on Oct. 27.
"There was definitely a big change for us from the first game, especially from Jesse Perry and Kyryl Natyazhko," said Miller. "They showed great effort rebounding. We rebounded much better tonight and that was a key factor to the result."
Josiah Turner, Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson each turned in solid performances, scoring eight points apiece and collecting 10 boards between them. Turner had three assists to go with a block. Hill led the team with 31 minutes.
Arizona seemed to pick up where it left off from its Thursday night exhibition loss to Seattle Pacific as it turned the ball over on seven of its first nine possessions of the game and trailed by as many as 12 in the first half. The Wildcats converted just one field goal in the first 9:05 of the game before chipping away gradually to eventually take a three point lead on a Kyle Fogg three to end the half.
The Wildcats ended the half on a 25-11 run. Nine Cats scored in the first period, led by Perry with eight. UA outrebounded the Lumberjacks 22-10 including a 9-3 advantage on the offensive glass.
"In order to be successful, we have to be good at team defense, rebounding and a lot of guys need to step up and fill some big roles," said Miller. "Just because you have Arizona on your jersey doesn't mean I'm going to put you in the game."
The second half began much like the first for Arizona. The Wildcats had nine turnovers in the first 19 possessions of the second half. It scored one field goal in the first 8:56 of the second half. In the first eight minutes of each half, UA connected on a total of two field goals.
In the final 12 minutes of each half, however, Arizona outscored HSU by a combined 52-31.
Arizona begins its regular season in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer as it takes on Valparaiso on Monday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. MST.