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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Powered by bigs, Arizona Wildcats run past Belmont 81-64

Tyler Besh

SALT LAKE CITY — Belmont was supposed to be Arizona’s kryptonite, with its top-of-the-line 3-point shooting offense.

The way the game opened, it’s a wonder the 11th-seed Belmont became such a trendy pick to upset the sixth-seed Wildcats.

After the tip, and a few passes, Nick Johnson found freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski down low. Tarczewski attacked the basket, went to the free throw line, and hit both free throws.

Then, Tarczewski hustled back on defense and blocked Trevor Noack’s attempt at a layup.

The tone was set for the game, and Arizona never trailed in a commanding 81-64 second round NCAA Tournament win at EnergySolutions Arena.

“He knew he was the difference in the game,” said point guard Mark Lyons, who scored a game-high 23 points.

While everyone was focusing in on Belmont’s sweet-shooting reputation, they overlooked the Wildcats’ size advantage. The Bruins’ tallest contributors — Blake Jenkins and Trevor Noack — are 6-foot-7.

“I guess the stat that’s overwhelming is rebounding,” head coach Sean Miller said. “That shows the effort level we played with.”

The trio of 7-foot Kaleb Tarczewski, 6-foot-10 Grant Jerrett and 6-foot-8 Brandon Ashley out-rebounded Belmont all on their own. They had 21 rebounds between them, Arizona had 44 as a team, while the Bruins grabbed 18 boards. The UA also outscored Belmont 36-18 in the paint.

“Everytime we got the ball in the post,” guard/forward Kevin Parrom said, “something great happened.”

Pick up tomorrow’s Arizona Daily Wildcat or check back later for the rest of this story.

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