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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

FINAL: ARIZONA 100, BRYANT 60

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Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat boys; basketball;

Although head coach Sean Miller said that Arizona’s game against Bryant University wasn’t a “tune-up,” it certainly felt that way.

The Wildcats (9-4) defeated the Bulldogs (1-11), 100-60 in McKale Center on Thursday night to close out their non-conference season. It is the largest margin of victory for the Wildcats in 10 years, since they defeated USC 105-61 on Feb. 17, 2001.

Arizona dominated in every facet of the game, shooting nearly 52 percent from the floor and almost 57 percent from the 3-point line, and out-rebounded the Bulldogs 42-24. Arizona had 23 points off turnovers and scored 36 in the paint. The bench contributed 48 points.

“While Bryant has a losing record, it’s really about how we play, and these games will get us ready for the Pac-12 Conference schedule,” Miller said.

The highlight of the night was the shootout from the 3-point line. The Wildcats put on a clinic, with five different players scoring from 3-point range. No player was more impressive than senior Brendon Lavender, who hit six 3-pointers and scored 18 points, both career highs. Lavender nailed five 3-pointers over the course of a five-minute stretch.

“I was feeling it,” Lavender said. “My job is to come in the game and shoot the ball and that’s what I did.

“I’ve been doing this for the last three, four years,” Lavender continued. “I’m kind of used to it now. Hopefully I can try to increase my role as the season goes on.”

Miller said the team would rely on an increase in Lavender’s minutes as it goes into conference play.

“Brendon Lavender off the bench, to score 18 points in 11 minutes in an amazing accomplishment,” Miller said. “I think it’s a sign that one of the things that we need to have in place is a team of depth.”

Kyle Fogg also had the hot hand, shooting 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. He finished with 11 points.

Bryant shot a respectable 8-for-24 from 3-point range and, at one point, was 6-for-14 when Arizona was 7-for-14.

The Wildcats continued with aggressive offense led by junior Solomon Hill and senior Jesse Perry. Before the Wildcats opened their large second half lead, Hill and Perry found points in the paint and off of Bryant turnovers.

The Wildcats took a 46-31 lead into halftime, the highest halftime point total of the season so far.

Arizona kept up its up-tempo play from Tuesday’s game against Oakland University, something that Miller emphasized would need to continue for this season to be successful.

Arizona had five players in double figures, with Lavender’s 18 leading the way. Perry had 16 points, Hill added 13 and Fogg and junior Kevin Parrom both finished with 11. Perry also recorded another double-double, bringing his season total to six, which leads the team.

Fourteen players saw action on Thursday, including walk-ons Max Wiepking, Dondre Wise and Robert Arvizu. Center Alex Jacobson played six minutes and had two points, two rebounds and a block. Wiepking hit a free throw to give Arizona its 100th point.

Jacobson said that while the cheering crowd is fun, he doesn’t feel pressure to impress the fans.

“They always want me to shoot a three and I’m not going to shoot the three unless the shot clock is winding down,” Jacobson said. “I’ll shoot when I’m comfortable.”

The Wildcats will have three days off for the Christmas break before returning to practice on Dec. 26. Arizona will host ASU in McKale Center on Dec. 31 at 3:30 p.m. to kick off Pac-12 Conference play.

By the numbers: Arizona’s 100-point game

• The 100-point game was the first for Arizona since last year’s triple-overtime victory against California. The Wildcats defeated the Golden Bears 107-105 in Berkeley, Calif., on Feb. 5.

• Thursday’s game was the first 100-point game in McKale Center since March 7, 2009, when the Wildcats beat Stanford 101-87.

• While the Wildcats’ 105-61 win over USC in 2001 was the last time Arizona defeated an opponent by a 40-point margin, the Wildcats also defeated St. Mary’s on Dec. 2 of that year by a score of 101-41.

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