TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona men's basketball opened fast and never looked back Wednesday in a 108-67 victory over Humboldt State in the first of two exhibition contests for the team.
"Tonight allowed our young guys to get their feet wet playing in front of a big crowd," said Arizona head coach Sean Miller. "The more game experience they can get the better it will be for the long haul."
Kaleb Tarczewskiposted a double-double in his first action in an Arizona uniform with 18 points and 10 boards. He led the team in both categories.
UA put its depth on display with 10 Wildcats played double-digit minutes, all of whom scored five or more points. Six players hit threes, nine players dished out assists and nine players grabbed rebounds.
"The big difference from a year ago is the obvious: we are bigger," said Miller. "With size comes depth. One of the challenges for us is to utilize our size to our advantage."
The Cats won the battle at the glass with a 46-26 rebounding advantage. Nine different Cats had a board with Tarczewski's 10 leading the way.
Arizona was unconscious from the field in the second half, hitting at a 75% clip (24-32) for the period and a 59.1% mark for the game compared to Humboldt State's 40.4%.
The Wildcats hit 11 threes and shot 44% from behind the arc in the contest, but allowed HSU to put up a 47.4%
"Although we out rebounded Humboldt and did a good job around the basket, four our team to give up 9-for-19 from three (point range), you're really playing with fire," said Miller. "Their open threes came from missed rotations and irresponsibility."
Each newcomer shined in his first action. Gabe York was a perfect 2-for-2 from behind the arc while grabbing a board and dishing out two assists. Lyons recorded a team-best five assists to go along with his 15 points and four rebounds. Ashley was second to classmate Tarczewski with eight rebounds and scored 12 points in 19 minutes. Grant Jerrettscored nine points, had five rebounds and three assists in the game. Tarczewski's 18 points and 10 boards led the team.
Arizona opened the game with 11 straight points prompting the McKale Center crowd of 12,431 to traditionally stay on their feet until the first Humboldt State field goal at 16:13 remaining in the half. Mark Lyons' Arizona career started hot with the senior hitting two threes, grabbing two boards and dishing an assist during the 11-0 UA run.
Suffocating defense for Arizona held the Lumberjacks to 1-10 shooting in the first six minutes and caused four HSU turnovers before Ethan Dillard drained the Lumberjacks' second field goal of the night, a three-ball that cut Arizona's lead to 17-5.
A Humboldt State 15-2 run that included 11 points from Alec Williams cut what was a 30-10 UA lead to a 32-25 advantage with 6:13 to go in the first half. A Solomon Hilland-1 bucket ended the run and finished a 0-for-5 from the field stretch from Arizona.
At the half, Arizona led 46-35 with seniors Solomon Hilland Lyons leading the team in scoring with 12 and 11 points, respectively. HSU's Williams led all scorers with 16. Arizona turned nine Lumberjack turnovers into 17 points and enjoyed a 13-point advantage in the category.
Arizona opened the second half by scoring 14 of the first 21 points and creating four turnovers in the first 5:22 of the second half.
UA broke the game open with a 16-3 run in the second half to push the lead to 81-52 and the Cats never looked back. From there Arizona cruised to a 108-67 win in the exhibition opener.
Arizona continues its exhibition schedule with a visit from Chico State on Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. PDT at McKale Center.