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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona starters seal the deal

 

It’s not how you start but how you finish.

After the bench carried Arizona in the first half, the starters, led by Derrick Williams, delivered in the second half, blowing the game open to improve the Wildcats to 2-0 in a 83-57 over New Mexico State Thursday night in McKale Center.

“”It was an overall good team win for us,”” said head coach Sean Miller. “”It was a combination of our bench and Derrick (Williams) that allowed us to have a good win. He (Williams) was by far the best player on the court. He was dominant. Every time he caught the ball he scored.””

Williams scored 27 points on 9-for-10 from the field and 9-for-12 from the free-throw line. Williams not only received high praise from his coach but also New Mexico State’s head coach Marvin Menzies.

“”What can I say? He’s an NBA player,”” Menzies said. “”He’s a first round pick and he played like it. He has so much energy and a positive disposition on the court.””

Williams also added 14 rebounds and was the biggest reason the Wildcats outrebounded the Aggies 41-21, something Sean Miller has been harping about since he took the job at Arizona.

“”He’s been asking me to rebound period since I got to Tucson,”” Williams said. “” I think tonight he was real happy because we had a lot of offensive rebounds tonight.””

Forwards Jamelle Horne and Solomon Hill added four and five rebounds, respectively.

Though the frontcourt rebounded the ball the way Miller has always wanted, his backcourts starters struggled the entire night. Starters Momo Jones and Kyle Fogg combined for only two field goals the entire game, which forced Miller to rotate five new starters with 13:25 left in the first half in Kyryl Natyazko, Jordin Mayes, Brendon Lavender, Jesse Perry and Kevin Parrom.

“”Our starting point guard and two guard we’re 2-for-14,”” Miller said. “”Early they had a zone defense and we weren’t shooting the ball well. Jordin Mayes and Brendon Lavender hit threes, next thing you know, things started to go our way.””  

The starters were glad to see their teammates succeed after they struggled early.

“”We got off to a real slow start. Those guys came in and really held us down and they’re the reason we led at halftime,”” Fogg said. “”Big ups to that second unit.””

Though Jones and Fogg didn’t shoot the ball well, they combined for 12 assists, seven of those coming from Fogg who found Williams a couple times for easy dunks.

 ””You can make the argument that it is really hard to win, when they’re 2-for-14.  But I do think Momo and Kyle did some really good things even though they didn’t shoot well.””

Miller called it an overall team win, although he acknowledged he’s still trying to figure out his rotation.

“”I don’t have all the answers only playing two games,”” Miller said. “”But what we do have is a lot of competition on the daily basis, and a lot different players competing. That has to be our strength.””

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