TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Red Team defeated the Blue Team 91-71 in front of 7,603 fans at the Pepsi Red-Blue Game in McKale Center Thursday night.
After struggling early, the Red, made up of returning junior and senior players, used a balanced scoring attack with five players in double-figure point totals to pull away from the Blue Team. Seniors Hassan Adams and Chris Rodgers led the Red Team with 22 points and 17 points, respectively.
Both teams showed off Arizona’s new look offense and defense. Offensively, the Red shot 51.6% from the field for the game while running the 4-out-1-in motion offense. The extended full-court pressure implemented by the two teams helped to force 41 total turnovers.
Arizona head coach Lute Olson was pleased with the overall effort, but stressed the team still has a lot of to work on before the regular season gets underway on Nov. 21 at the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
“The Red team had five guys in double figures, and the Blue team had two guys with eight points, and three in double figures, and that’s exactly what you need,” Olson said following the game.
“I felt we played hard, but I’m not happy when we don’t get people back on defense,” Olson added. “The veterans know that if somebody is slow to get back, he’ll be sitting next to me in a hurry.”
The Blue, made up of freshmen and sophomores, raced out to a quick start behind the shooting of J.P. Prince and Marcus Williams. The freshmen duo combined for the first seven points of the game as each hit a three-pointer, and Williams added a free throw.
Red then responded with a 17-2 run over a six-minute stretch to take a 17-9 lead. Mustafa Shakur hit his first three-point attempt of the game and added two assists during the run.
After Blue took a 24-23 advantage with just over seven minutes remaining in the half, Adams answered with one of his three first-half treys. Red would not look back the rest of the half, extending their lead to 43-30 at the half.
Following the intermission, Red picked up where they left off. An Adams dunk capped an 11-0 run as the Red squad built a 21-point lead, 62-41.
A Chris Rodgers three-pointer gave Red its largest lead of the game, 75-52, at the 5:45 mark.
Blue closed the margin to 78-62 with 3:41 remaining, but that was as close as it would get.
Juniors Mustafa Shakur and Ivan Radenovic gave solid efforts for the Red. Shakur posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists, while Radenovic tallied 13 points and eight rebounds. Fox also added 15 points and 8 rebounds.
“We’re really looking forward to the two exhibition games next week,” Olson. “I’m excited to see how we do against an opponent with five of our guys on the court at the same time. Hopefully we’re ready to play about 10 guys deep. I hope to utilize that many, especially in the exhibition.”
The Wildcats will next be in action on Wednesday, Nov. 9, when they take on Sonoma State in the first exhibition game of the year. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MST in McKale Center and will be televised live on FSN Arizona.