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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcats get workout from D-II school

    UA forward Jordan Hill dunks home two of his career-high 17 points during Arizonas 88-64 victory over Adams State Nov. 21 in McKale Center. That game illustrated Hills foul trouble, as he only played 20 minutes despite hitting all seven of his shots against an undersized opponent because he picked up four fouls.
    UA forward Jordan Hill dunks home two of his career-high 17 points during Arizona’s 88-64 victory over Adams State Nov. 21 in McKale Center. That game illustrated Hill’s foul trouble, as he only played 20 minutes despite hitting all seven of his shots against an undersized opponent because he picked up four fouls.

    On the eve of Thanksgiving, UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill is thankful for an 88-64 win over Division-II Adams State College in McKale Center.

    “”I’m thankful that game’s over, I’ll guarantee you that,”” O’Neill said. “”I felt like I was in the dentist’s chair for about four hours.””

    The Wildcats (3-1) stuck with their current trend of starting the game on a slow note, picking it up and then giving the quiet crowd of 12,897 a scare on Wednesday. The Colorado school with an enrollment of 2,500 led by as much as five points with nine minutes to go in the first half and trailed by just eight in with 9:06 left in the game.

    “”I didn’t even know that they were a D-II school,”” said forward Chase Budinger, who was one of six Wildcats to score double-digits, registering 15. “”That’s something K.O. (O’Neill) will never bring up to us. We prepare for the opponent the same every time.

    “”We just have to look at them as a group of individuals and any night they can come out and play their ‘A’ game. That’s one emphasis that K.O.’s been teaching us is that on any night, anyone can beat anyone.””

    With the Wildcats up 63-51 almost halfway through the second half, the Grizzlies (2-1) didn’t back down. A dunk by forward Rece Hampton brought ASC within 10 and capped his game-high 23-point night.

    A Jerryd Bayless dunk that brought the crowd to its feet with 8:06 left gave Arizona a 12-point lead, setting the stage for a run that put the Wildcats ahead by 24 at the end of the contest. Bayless scored 14, going 8-for-9 from the free-throw line.

    But forward Jordan Hill impressed most on this night.

    The sophomore took advantage of ASC’s small roster – nobody’s taller than 6-foot-7 – playing a lot more in the paint than he has all season. The 6-foot-10 Hill scored a career-high 17 points, making all seven attempted field goals – including three dunks.

    “”I felt good, man,”” Hill said. “”I know my jumper’s good, but with a team a lot smaller than me, that’s my chance to just go in, post up deep, get the ball, turn around and drop it in.””

    And Hill’s performance came in a hindered state because of foul trouble. Totaling four fouls, he played just 20 minutes.

    “”We tried to go to Jordan and he got in foul trouble,”” O’Neill said. “”And when he came back in we tried to go to him again and he got in more foul trouble. That’s going to kind of be the story for Jordan until he gets in a position where he understands you can’t put your hands on guys, you can’t reach out. You have to protect your first couple of fouls for a long time.””

    The game began with a short jumper by Hill 11 seconds in, but ASC ruled early. The Grizzlies took a 9-8 lead 4:40 into the game and stayed on top for over seven minutes. Hampton scored 11 of the Grizzlies’ first 16 points – a span that included a reverse layup and an uncontested windmill dunk that came from a Budinger turnover.

    “”I don’t care about D-II, NAIA, D-III, there’s a lot of talent out there and everybody can’t go to the big schools,”” said UA guard Jawann McClellan, who scored 10. “”Some people slip up and end up at schools like that. Hampton is a perfect example.””

    Said O’Neill: “”Hampton, he’s going to be drafted off this game. He just needs to send this tape around. The guy had a good game and played well. He’s a good player – at any level.””

    The opponents’ streak ended at the 7:39 mark when Budinger hit a trey from the right side to tie the game at 19. Thirty-four seconds later he hit the exact same shot to put the Wildcats up 22-19.

    The lead swelled to as much as 15 with 1:02 on the clock and Arizona went into halftime leading 42-30.

    Though they played well at the end of the game, the Wildcats need play a consistent 40 minutes in Sunday’s matchup at No. 4 Kansas, Buninger said.

    “”We’ve been coming out slow and really just playing bad basketball,”” he said. “”We’ve got to change that or else when we play really good teams like Kansas they’re going to stomp on us.””

    And 1

    UA center Kirk Walters saw floor time for the first time this season, as O’Neill entered him in the game with 1:40 left with the Wildcats up 82-62. Though he did cause a Grizzly player to travel in the paint, he didn’t post any numbers.

    “”I just threw him in there for a couple minutes just to get him to run up and down the floor,”” O’Neill said. “”Kirk’s played very, very well in practice, so I’m assuming Kirk’s going to be playing in the next game.”” …

    ASC guard Larry Charles, Jr., got a warm reception from the Arizona crowd. The Tucson native who graduated from Cienega High School scored 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting.

    “”I wish we would have won, but we had a lot of fun,”” Charles, Jr. said. “”I grew up watching games here and to play here was a treat.””

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