TUCSON--Sophomore forward Marcus Williams ended questions about his earlier absence in the preseason with a resounding game to lead Arizona to a 111-56 victory over the University of Victoria Vikings in exhibition play at McKale Center Wednesday night.
Williams had 18 points at halftime and finished with 25 points to lead all scorers. He had missed the Cats' annual Red Blue Scrimmage two weeks ago and the team's season opening exhibition against Team Georgia last week because of a foot injury. There appeared to be no lingering effects as he used a variety of shots and moves to put points on the board, plus grab four rebounds and hand out six assists.
He hit nine of 14 shots including two three-pointers, and was five of six from the line. UA freshman Chase Budinger chipped in 20 points on 7-for-8 shooting to give the Cats more punch from the wing, while Nic Wise and Jawann McClellan added 19 and 13.
Arizona didn't much rely on its inside game except in transition or cuts to the hoop, instead knocking down 16 of 27 shots from three-point range and shooting 57 percent from the field overall. Inside players combined for only 13 shots from the floor. Jordan Hill, freshman forward, led the way with 3-for-4 shooting and eight points.
Forward Mitch Gudgeon led the Vikings with 15 points, while guard Joshua Whyte added 12.
|Olson was calm and collected. (Adams)|
By the 10-minute mark of the second half, Williams and others were done. With Arizona leading by 41 points, UA coach Lute Olson was experimenting with his younger players and working to see cohesive play by some mixed lineups. All 14 roster players saw action.
The game capped UA's preseason, the Wildcats' final tuneup for a season opener at Virginia on Saturday in a game to be televised by FSN Arizona in state markets and along the eastern seaboard by FSN South, FSN Florida, the New England Sports Network and Comcast.
Arizona started the lineup Lute Olson has said during preseason could be his quickest group -- guards Mustafa Shakur and Jawann McClelland, with Chase Budinger, Williams and Ivan Radenovic in the frontcourt.
McClelland scored nine of Arizona's first 16 points in the opening three minutes, with two three-pointers and another three-point play on a layup and foul shot, to give the Cats a 16-5 lead. Williams added his third bucket, a baseline drive for a dunk moments later, to make it 18-5 and cause the Vikings to call time out at the 16:20 mark.
Another Williams' dunk a minute or two later gave UA a 26-5 lead and essentially the drama was over. Lute Olson made his first substitution at the 13:15 mark, sending in center Kirk Walters for his first action of the year.
The Vikes settled down and played even-up ball, but the lead was still 17 with six minutes to go in the first half, 40-23. But Arizona scored the next nine points to extend the lead.
By halftime, Arizona had played 12 players, with nine of them in the scoring column. Victoria went into the locker room with Mitch Gudgeon the leading scorer with nine in leading five players with points.