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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 3 Arizona MBB cruises past Belmont

Jackie Cabrera
The Arizona mens basketball team huddles up during the game against Morgan State on Nov. 7 in McKale Center. The Wildcats won the game with a score of 122-59.

The Arizona men’s basketball team cruised past Belmont University 100-68 Friday night, Nov. 17, behind big performances by both Caleb Love and Motiejus Krivas. The Wildcats reached the century mark for the second time this season and moved 4-0 in front of a packed McKale Center. 

“I’m thankful for the fans for coming out tonight,” said Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd. “We’re thankful for their support, and they did a great job tonight.”

First Half: 

The Wildcats were playing with a lot of confidence from the start, quickly gaining a six-point lead less than four minutes into the game. However, Belmont hit back-to-back three-pointers, evening the score at 14. 

The Wildcats then kicked into high gear, going on an 18-0 run, leaving the Bears in their dust. Arizona’s dominance was palpable as they controlled the game from then on, cruising to a 56-35 halftime lead

The Wildcats shot an impressive 51% from the field and 40% from behind the arc in the first half. Arizona’s dominance in the rebounding department and its ability to assert their presence in the key was clearly evident in the first half. The Wildcats outrebounded the Bears 33-10 and outscored them in the paint 26-6.

Love, the former University of North Carolina Tar Heel, was feeling it early, scoring a team-high 15 points in the first half. 

“I felt like I was a little bit more aggressive coming into this game,” said Love. “I was just trying to find an easy way to get my teammates involved and let the game come to me.”

Meanwhile, 7’2” freshman Krivas neared a double-double in the first half, tallying 10 points and eight boards.

[Oumar] gives me lessons every practice,” said Krivas. He tries to help me, so it’s really good having someone like him there for me.”

Second Half: 

The Wildcats came out strong in the second half, hitting 10 of their first 12 field goal attempts. Kylan Boswell was particularly impressive, going 3-4 from behind the arc and helping the Wildcats extend their lead to 36 points less than eight minutes into the half.

Love dished back-to-back assists to Keshad Johnson, including a behind-the-back dish, which sent the McKale Center into a frenzy. 

The Wildcats cooled off towards the end but ultimately cruised to the 100-68 victory. Arizona shot 54% from the field and outrebounded the Bears 52-22, 17-4 on the offensive glass.

“Our strength will be our numbers and depth,” said Lloyd. “Hopefully, our guys will buy into that and stay consistent.”

The Wildcats had five players reach double figures: Love, Krivas, Johnson, Boswell and Oumar Ballo. Love scored a team-high 20 points and six assists, both season-highs. Krivas finished one rebound shy of a double-double, but the freshman recorded a career-high 20 points. Meanwhile, Boswell scored 14 points and six assists, Ballo totaled 12 points and seven boards, and Johnson scored 11. 

“We have a lot of weapons on this team,” said Love. “Anybody can get into it on any given night.”   

Looking Ahead:

The Wildcats will face the University of Texas at Arlington at home on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m. 

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