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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

FINAL: No. 12 Arizona defeats Pacific 79-61

Arizona+center+Dusan+Ristic+%2814%29+snags+the+a+rebound+over+Pacific+forward+Jacob+Lampkin+%2821%29+during+Arizonas+79-61+win+over+Pacific+at+McKale+Center+on+Friday%2C+Nov.+13%2C+2015.
Rebecca Noble

Arizona center Dusan Ristic (14) snags the a rebound over Pacific forward Jacob Lampkin (21) during Arizona’s 79-61 win over Pacific at McKale Center on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015.

A freshly-minted starting lineup guided Arizona men’s basketball to a 79-61 victory over Pacific Friday night in the team’s season opener.

Playing in front a packed McKale Center crowd, the Wildcats relied on the experience of a trio of former transfers, who made up 60 percent of the UA’s opening night roster.

Those former transfers, Mark Tollefsen, Ryan Anderson and Kadeem Allen, all received starting nods in addition to senior hallmarks Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York.

The starters combined to score the large majority of Arizona’s points.

It was Anderson, a fifth-year senior power forward formerly from Boston College, who led Arizona in scoring with 18 points. Anderson added 12 to earn a double-double in his first career start as a Wildcat.

“I watch him do it every day,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. “To me it was a very easy 18 and 12. He’s off to a great start as we know.

Tollefsen – the senior transfer from the University of San Francisco – added 10 points, while York and Allen each contributed 13.

Miller inserted every expected team contributor at some point or another, with exception to guard Elliott Pitts who was not dressed for the game due to a knee injury he suffered in practice earlier this week.

The Arizona coach said he gave some of the younger players more time on the court than he usually would, because of exogenous circumstances such as Pitts’ absence and Tarczewski’s recovery from an ankle injury of his own.

“I didn’t want to get anybody hurt down the stretch,” Miller said. “And at the same time, I really wanted to get some of the younger guys in there for a long duration so we can learn more about them.”

However, the plan backfired in the second half when Arizona’s offense from cruise control to a sluggish halt.

Arizona’s trio of freshmen – Justin Simon, Chance Comanche and Allonzo Trier – all struggled to find the basket, as the three combined to shoot just 1-15. Trier alone went 1-10 from the field.

While Arizona’s collective shooting performance was far from proficient, the UA held control of the score from wire to wire.

After opening the game with a 13-5 run, Arizona cooled down offensively for much of the first half. However, the team picked up steam again in the last couple minutes.

The Wildcats led 41-24 at intermission. The lead never varied much in the second half, as the UA barely edged Pacific 38-37 over the final 20 minutes.

Defensively, the Wildcats held fort by limiting Pacific to 37 percent from the field. TJ Wallace scored 17 points to lead the Tigers.

Arizona benefited immensely from its innate height advantage. The UA outrebounded Pacific 51-28.

Yet by game’s end, Arizona’s shooting percentage only slightly topped Pacific’s, and in the final minutes, Miller had to resort to putting starters in to close the deal.

“At the end of the day we have seven new basketball players,” Gabe York said. “We can only do so much in practice, so it’s not going to be 100 percent perfect at game one.”

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