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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Freshmen impress at Arizona basketball’s exhibition game

Larry Hogan / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Arizona unofficially opened its season on Wednesday night against Humboldt State, winning with a score of 108-67 in its first of two preseason games.

Not much can be really taken out of a preseason game against a Divison II opponent, but here’s what we’ve learned so far:

Mark Lyons is, probably, no Josiah Turner

Again, it’s only Humboldt State. It’s only the preseason. But it also was only the preseason when Arizona lost to Seattle Pacific last year and dearly departed point guard Josiah Turner had seven points and four assists in his Arizona debut.

Lyons had seven points, four rebounds and two assists through 9:28 in the first half alone.

“He has great talent with the ball in the open court,” head coach Sean Miller said. “There was about a 10 minute stretch where he was playing really well [in the first half].”

Lyons finished with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting (4-of-7 from three), four rebounds and five assists. In the second half, Lyons played just eight minutes due to foul trouble and scored just four points on 1-for-2 shooting before fouling out with 2:49 remaining.

“His fouling got in the way of him having a great game,” Miller said. “He came back in with a big lead [in the second half] and with him having four fouls, I don’t know if he necessarily ever regained his concentration he had earlier in the game.

“I think he’s learning everyday with how to get his teammates involved. He was on the brink of having a huge assist night until he got into foul trouble.”

‘Zeus, Jerrett look like starters

Head coach Sean Miller has insisted that he doesn’t really have a set plan for what the starting rotation will be, but if Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett continue to play the way they did against the Lumberjacks, he’ll have a hard time keeping them out of the lineup.

Tarczewski has been described as “raw,” and Miller has preached patience with him in the weeks leading up to the season, as 7-footers tend to take longer to develop.

Still, he looked pretty good, all things considered, against Humboldt State.

“He’s a big body and he can score in the post with the best of them,” starting guard Nick Johnson said.

Tarczewski recorded a double-double, snaring 10 boards to go with a team-best 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, which included a couple of nifty hook shots.

“In the beginning of the second half, he showed what he can do,” Miller said. “Whether he made shots or not, you can tell when he gets the ball in and around the basket he can score.”

Jerrett’s performance in practice has earned praise from Miller, and he staked his claim for the starting power forward position.

It wasn’t the most flashy of performances, but Jerrett contributed across the board.

He finished with nine points on 4-of-9 shooting, five rebounds, three assists, one steal and three blocks.

“He’s very versatile,” Johnson said. He’s 6-foot-10, has long arms, can shoot, can go in post, can dunk, he can pretty much do everything. He’s a great athlete and a great player.”

The Wildcats’ other highly touted freshman, big, 6-foot-8 forward Brandon Ashley, struggled in the first half, shooting 1-for-3 with four points in eight minutes, but got into a bit of a groove when Arizona exploded for 62 points in the second half.

He finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

On the rebound

In last year’s loss to Seattle Pacific, the Wildcats had just 20 rebounds as a team — they matched that total in the first half against Humboldt State and finished with 46 rebounds on the game, outrebounding Humboldt State by 20.

Against the Lumberjacks last year, a 6-foot-7 Jesse Perry and the Kyryl Natyazhko had 26 rebounds between them, but Wednesday’s game was still promising considering the overall rebounding struggles the UA had last season.

Arizona’s quartet of big men — Angelo Chol, Ashley, Tarczewski and Jerrett — combined for 27 rebounds.

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