Nov. 6, 2008
TUCSON - --Jordan Hill's 23 points led a quartet of Wildcats in double figures as the Wildcats dropped University of the Incarnate Word, 97-83, in an exhibition game to open the 2008-09 men's basketball season in McKale Center.
"Overall the guys played hard, especially in the second half," said interim head coach Russ Pennell. "Players we were counting on stepped up and did what they were supposed to do."
Wise, seeing his first game action after sitting out the team's intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday, gave the 12,447 in attendance a scare in the first half after colliding with UIW's Tamas Cseh and opening a gash above his left eyebrow, which took five stitches to close.
The Cats had a chance at the century mark, but turned the ball over several times in the closing minutes. UA shot 52 percent from the floor but also showed some impatience with 18 turnovers to 11 by the Cardinals, who hit 47 percent of its shots.
Hill posted a double-double, leading all players on the boards with 13. Budinger and Horne came close, with nine rebounds each, and Fendi Onobun grabbed seven to help Arizona outrebound the smaller UIW squad by a huge margin, 54-22.
That likely was a key difference in the game. UA failed to cash in on its free throw shooting, hitting only 26-of-46 from the stripe against 16-for-23 by Incarnate Word.
"We were a bit shaky at first, but clearly in the second half we became more out-going on the court," said Hill. "The tempo of the second half was a big factor. We wanted to jump right in because we knew they could shoot."
UIW's Pierce Caldwell, the Heartland Conference Player of the Year last season, was the high point man with 24 for the Cardinals, who also showed some balance with 17 from Tracy Robinson, 15 by Deleon Hines and 13 from Garrett Bell. Eric Nuncio dished out a game-high 10 assists. Arizona was led by eight assists from Wise.
"After the first half we felt pretty good and everyone was playing hard," said Caldwell. "In the second half, Arizona just went off. Hill was having his way and we couldn't body up."
Hill and Wise did not start the game for Arizona due to tardiness at the morning shoot-around prior to tonight's game.
UA concludes its exhibition schedule on Wednesday, Nov. 12, when it hosts Sonoma State at 7 p.m. MST. The game will not be televised, but fans can call (520) 621-CATS or log on to www.arizonaathletics.com for tickets.