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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona MBB crushes Morgan State in season opener

Jackie Cabrera
Arizona mens basketball player Oumar Ballo attempts to score points against Morgan State on Nov. 7 in McKale Center. The wildcats won the game 122-59.

The Arizona men’s basketball team began its 2023-24 season with a lopsided 122-59  win against Morgan State University on Monday, Nov. 6, in McKale Center. The Wildcats are coming off of back-to-back exhibition wins going into this matchup. Arizona had faced Morgan State twice before this meeting and held a 2-0 record against the Bears.

First half

With this being the first game of the regular season, the anticipation set in as tip-off began. Guard Kylan Boswell scored the first points of the game with a three-pointer. Guard Pelle Larsson returned from injury and is back in the starting lineup got to work immediately with his first points of the game coming from beyond the arc. Arizona took a quick 11-5 lead as center Oumar Ballo dunked the ball, getting fans excited early. However, Morgan State would not back down, and kept the game close at 15-10, with Arizona still leading. The Wildcats’ defense then finally knocked the rust off and got dialed in, forcing the Bears to turnover the ball over constantly allowing them to go on an 11-0 run.

Halfway through the first half, Arizona continued to build on its lead, making it 34-15 when Boswell scored back-to-back three-pointers. Arizona’s defense continued to dominate throughout as they forced the Bears to make 1 of their last 9 field goals approaching the end of the first half. The Wildcats opened up a gaping 61-26 lead heading into the half. Larsson looked as if he never missed a game as he continued to score, leading the Wildcats with 13 first-half points, and Caleb Love right behind him with 12. Morgan State forward Myles Thompson led for the Bears in the first half with 9 points.

Second half

Arizona opened up the second half with a 6-0 run, allowing all of its starters to be in double figures. The Wildcats held onto their large lead despite Morgan State’s attempt at a comeback, but ultimately were unable to, as Arizona continued to extend its lead. The score was 89-43 at the ten-minute mark of the second half. Arizona handled the ball better this time around, only turning it over seven times the whole game compared to the 24 turnovers they had against New Mexico Highlands University on Monday, Oct. 30.

Boswell was asked about the difference in taking care of the ball.

“For sure, [ball control] was kind of our main focus meeting Morgan State,” Boswell said.

Arizona forced Morgan State to a total of 25 turnovers.

With the Wildcats leading 111-50 with four minutes left in the game, there wasn’t much Morgan State could do to trim down the 61-point lead. The game ended with Boswell and Larsson as the leading scorers with 18 and 15 points, respectively.

Looking ahead:

Arizona’s next matchup is going to be especially exciting as the Wildcats go on the road to face up against No. 2 Duke University. The Wildcats’ most recent matchup was back in 2013, when Arizona won 72-66. This year’s game will take place on Friday, Nov. 10, at 5 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

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