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Cats Post 76-61 Exhibition Win
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: September 02, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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VANCOUVER, B.C. ?- It’s a good thing Arizona has a few international players on its roster.


Junior Daniel Dillon and sophomore Mohamed Tangara combined for 25 points and seven rebounds to lead the Wildcats to a 76-61 exhibition win over the University of Saskatchewan Saturday afternoon in War Memorial Gymnasium.


Dillon, a 6-foot-3 guard from Melbourne, Australia, tallied 10 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, connecting on 6-of-9 field goal attempts in the contest.  He sank 4-of-5 shots in the game’s final 10 minutes.


His point total for the game was six points better than his career high.  Dillon was one of the few Wildcats to look comfortable in the first game of this five-game tour in Vancouver.


“We’re playing my kind of game,” said Dillon smiling.  “I like the extended three-point line and the (trapezoidal) lane.  I felt good out there, but we definitely have some adjustments to make.”


UA head coach Lute Olson agreed.


“I thought our best player today was Daniel Dillon,” he said.  “He did a great job with pressure. He shot it well and he took the shots he should.  Daniel had the kind of game we need.”


Tangara, a 6-foot-9 forward from Bamako, Mali, chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds to lead the Wildcat frontline.  All told, the UA frontcourt was 17-of-39 from the floor.


“We had a lot of easy shots inside that just didn’t go in,” Olson said.  “We didn’t do a good job of finishing.  We need to get a more solid performance out of the inside guys.”


The Wildcats and Huskies traded baskets for the first 10 minutes of the second half before Arizona broke the game open for good with a 14-0 run over a six minute span.  Bret Brielmaier’s basket and free throw with 9:43 remaining gave Arizona a 57-37 lead.


Arizona connected on 56.3 percent of its field goal attempts (18-of-32) in the second half and limited Saskatchewan to 41.9 percent accuracy (13-of-31).  At one point of the second period, Saskatchewan made just 2-of-20 field goal attempts.


UA started slowly in the first half with the veterans hitting just one of its first seven shots, and saw the game tied at four five minutes into the contest.  The bright spot early on was Kirk Walters, who blocked three of Saskatchewan’s first six field goal attempts.


Led by freshman Jordan Hill, the UA newcomers responded by outscoring the Huskies 11-6 in their five-minute allotment to give the Cats its first lead of the game on a Chase Budinger field goal with 14:11 to go in the half. 


Nearly two minutes later, Hill ignited a 13-0 UA run over the next 4:31 that saw the lead extended to 19-10.  Hill scored five points in the run, and nine of the 13 points were tallied by the Wildcat newcomers.  He finished the game with nine points, six boards and a pair of blocked shots.


Tangara scored four points over the final 2:54 of the first half, including a put-back at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 33-24 lead at the break.  Both teams struggled from the floor to open the game.  Arizona outshot Saskatchewan 36.1-33.3 percent in the opening 20 minutes.


Arizona is back on the court at 7 p.m. tonight to face the University of British Columbia.  Such a game will serve as a nice barometer for the Wildcats.


“The key will be to see how much we improve between this game and the one we play tonight,” said Olson.





LATE NIGHT, EARLY MORNING:  The Wildcats arrived in Vancouver about 30 minutes later than scheduled ?- just after 11 p.m. PDT time - as the plane scheduled to carry the team from Phoenix to Vancouver was delayed en route to Sky Harbor Airport due to bad weather along the East Coast.  It made for a short evening as the players retired to their rooms around 12:30 a.m. in preparation for Saturday morning’s 8:30 wake-up call.


THEY ARE EVERYWHERE:  No matter where the team travels, Wildcat fans always seem to be in attendance.  Saturday was no different as about 40 people were in attendance wearing the Cardinal and Navy at tip-off.


IT’S GOTTA BE THE SHOES:  Guard Nic Wise played Saturday’s game in what can only be described as a fashionable pair of basketball shoes. When asked if he had forgotten his game shoes, Wise just shrugged his shoulders, smiled and said, “Yeah,” very quietly.


QUOTE OF THE DAY:  Vancouver is like a cool loft above a big party,” said junior forward Bret Brielmaier Friday night of this world-class city on the way from the airport to the team hotel.

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