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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Winning connection

Coming into Arizona’s match-up with the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats, forward Derrick Williams was third in the nation in field goal percentage while shooting guard Kyle Fogg was leading the team with 5.7 assists per game.

In the Arizona men’s basketball team’s 78-45 ugly victory over the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foes at McKale Center Tuesday, the trends of those two statistics showed once again as the Wildcats from Tucson improved to a 4-0 record.

That’s because those two statistics are related. Williams scored 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting, and his first three field goals came off of Fogg passes. Meanwhile, Fogg led the team with five assists.

“”Me and Derrick have a real good connection,”” Fogg said. “”I really just make it a point of emphasis to really get him the ball. If he’s going, our whole team is going.

“”Just give him the ball and watch him go to work.””

Williams threw down a 360 dunk after catching up to a long Fogg pass, putting the score at 22-8 with nine minutes left in the first half.

“”I don’t know what that (dunk) was,”” said forward Jamelle Horne, who scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds. “”He’s crazy like that.””

The game as a whole, however, wasn’t as much of a highlight reel.

Early in the first half, the UA bench went on a small run behind four points by backup point guard Jordin Mayes and five rebounds by center Kyryl Natyazhko. Natyazhko and Arizona’s frontcourt had an easy time on the boards against a B-CU roster that included only four players over 200 pounds, and Arizona won the rebound margin 37-24 by the end of the game.

However, Bethune-Cookman didn’t back down after the small Arizona flurry.

After Arizona pushed the lead to 14 points with 7:55 left in the half, the other Wildcats, from Daytona Beach, Fla., went on a 13-6 run before halftime. It was in part due to forcing nine first-half Arizona turnovers.

“”I think their gameplan was to shrink the clock,”” said Arizona head coach Sean Miller. “”If we got one thing from the game tonight, it’s being able to play against a very patient team.

“”They’re patient on offense, and they’re really trying to speed you up on defense,”” he added. “”It’s awkward (to play against).””

B-CU’s Mikel Trapp capped the run with a 3-pointer in the final minute to cut Arizona’s lead to single digits, and UA went into halftime with a 30-23 lead.

The second half was not as rocky for Arizona, as it committed just three turnovers after the break.

With the lead at 11, Mayes hit a floater in the lane and then stole an inbounds pass for another lay-up to push the lead to 45-30 with less than 14 minutes to play. He ended with eight points that evening.

Arizona finally broke the game open by pushing the tempo and wearing on the B-CU roster. The team shot 6-for-12 from 3-point range in the second half, wearing down the B-CU defense.

“”We couldn’t keep the tempo of the game and the floodgates just opened there a couple minutes into that second half,”” said B-CU head coach Cliff Reed. “”We knew we had to minimize their opportunities to score the basketball then we would have a chance to keep it close.””

Miller said he wasn’t disappointed by the effort of Arizona, stomping out the possibility that his team was overlooking B-CU and eying weekend games against Santa Clara and Kansas.

“”I liked that we left our bad six or eight minutes behind,”” Miller said. “”We won by a lot, but this is a type of game where it feels like we only won by six.

“”This is one that we’re definitely going to learn from.””

And 1

Miller’s team held the B-CU offense to 34 percent shooting on the evening. B-CU’s 13-for-38 set a McKale Center record for least field goals made since 1989 and fewest field goals attempted since 1984.

 

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