Playing with more energy than displayed in the morning session, the University of Arizona men's basketball team defeated the University of British Columbia, 73-59, Saturday night at War Memorial Gym.
All 10 Wildcats score in comfortable win
VANCOUVER, B.C. Fortunately, the nightcap was better.
Playing with more energy than displayed in the morning session, the University of Arizona men’s basketball team defeated the University of British Columbia, 73-59, Saturday night at War Memorial Gym.
On the heels of an erratic 15-point win this morning over the University of Saskatchewan, Arizona played with more focus from the start, quickly grabbed the lead an then methodically pushed it to double digits in what became a 14-point win over host UBC.
Sophomore forward Marcus Williams scored a game-high 19 points and added seven rebounds and three steals in the victory. The 6-foot-7 Seattle native spearheaded a balanced Wildcat attack that saw three players finish in double figures and all 10 players to see action in the game scored at least one bucket.
Williams effort Saturday evening was emblematic of the entire UA squad, which bounced back nicely from a sub-par effort in the day’s first game. He connected on 8-of-15 field goal attempts against UBC after hitting just 3-of-11 attempts earlier in the day.
Williams claimed to be more assertive, saying, “This morning’s game was ugly. I tried to be more of a leader tonight and get us off to a good start.”
The Wildcats led by a point, 11-10, at the 14:10 mark of the first half when they went on a 19-9 run over the next seven minutes and never trailed again.
Arizona hit 17-of-38 (.447) shots in the first half, and limited UBC to 9-of-26 (.346) marksmanship. In addition, UA forced the Thunderbirds into 15 turnovers, which led to 14 Wildcat points in the opening stanza.
The second half was more of the same as Arizona pushed the lead to 20 points early on. A Mustafa Shakur basket at the 13:02 mark gave UA a 20-point lead. Four minutes later, David Bagga’s trey gave the Wildcats its biggest lead of the night at 66-39.
From that point on Arizona got careless with the ball, committing more than a handful of turnovers and struggling from the free throw line. UA turned it over 21 times in the contest with 16 of those coming in the second half.
Hitting just 15-of-31 free throw attempts only compounded the problem.
“We did two things poorly tonight,” said UA head coach Lute Olson. “We shot miserably from the free throw line and we turned it over way too many times. I thought defensively we did a really good job of forcing them to take tough shots and into a number of turnovers.”
Junior guard Daniel Dillon had another strong performance Saturday, totaling 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting, to go with three rebounds.
“I’m more comfortable shooting the ball right now,” Dillon explained. “I’ve got more freedom and I’m getting more minutes, so I’m doing what I can to help us win both offensively and defensively.”
Arizona’s five-game tour of Vancouver continues Sunday with two more games. The Wildcats play the Vancouver All-Stars at noon PDT and Simon Fraser University at 7 p.m. Both games will be played at SFU.