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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Hoops not quite ready

Arizona head basketball coach Sean Miller said he wasn’t going to talk about the real negatives or the real positives in last night’s 70-59 exhibition win against Augustana College.

But there were certainly plenty of both, and it wasn’t always pretty.

“”We weren’t able to break it open because we weren’t shooting,”” Miller said. “”We were either throwing the ball to them or out of bounds.””

Though Arizona struggled to get a good rhythm throughout the game, players were just happy to get back to playing against someone other than themselves.

“”I thought we did all right, but we could have done better,”” said sophomore forward Derrick Williams. “”It’s been a long time since we actually played somebody. It was an exhibition game, but at the same time it was better than practicing against ourselves.””

Arizona never trailed in the game but allowed their Division-II opponent to stick around throughout the game. Each time it appeared the Wildcats could blow the game open, a turnover or missed shot enabled the Vikings to stay in the game.

Though Miller wasn’t particularly pleased with poor free throw shooting (22-for-35) and turnovers (15), he gave Augustana credit for the game being close throughout.

“”They provided us with what we wanted them to do,”” he said. “”They’re well coached, disciplined team with a couple of guards who could play in a lot of Division-I programs.

“”We chose to play a team that executed, and we knew the way they screened it would be a good test for us, and they were.””

One of those guards was sophomore guard Cameron McCaffrey who led the way for the Vikings with 20 points.

Arizona’s aggression allowed it to reach the foul line, but the end result wasn’t always there — the Wildcats missed 13 free throws.

“”We got there 35 times, which is good. What scares you is if you shoot 6 or 8 free throws,”” Miller said. “”We have to shoot a higher percentage, throughout the game when you struggle that much from the line and you’re getting fouled that much, it starts to work against you, and it did.””

Arizona’s two most popular players had very different nights. The reigning Pacific 10 Conference Freshman of the Year, Derrick Williams, led the way with 19 points and six rebounds.

Meanwhile, UA point guard Momo Jones struggled in his new role as the team’s floor general. He went 0-for-6 from the floor and 0-for-3 from beyond the arc with only one assist.

Luckily for Jones, it was only an exhibition game and he has a week to prepare for the season opener this Sunday against Idaho State.

“”(Jones) was our team’s most improved player a year ago,”” Miller said. “”He’s playing more under control, last year he learned and improved, I hope he doesn’t go for 0-for-6 every night, tonight wasn’t his night, but it was a great learning experience for him.””

After its subpar showing, Arizona has one week to break down film and fine tune its performance.

“”I think we’re ready to play,”” Miller said. “”I’m glad we have a week. I think the week will serve us well.””

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