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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 3 Arizona MBB moves to 5-0 with win over UT Arlington

Mason Kumet
KJ Lewis extends in the air to block the University of Texas at Arlington at the 3-point line during the second half of a home win in McKale Center on Sunday, Nov. 19. Lewis led Arizona with three blocks to close out a 101-56 victory before heading on the road to face Michigan State University.

The Arizona men’s basketball team went up against the University of Texas at Arlington on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 4:00 p.m. in McKale Center. Arizona came into this game off a win against Belmont University on Friday, Nov. 17, as the Wildcats won 100-68 in McKale Center. The Wildcats ended up winning 101-56 giving them a 5-0 record to start off the 2023-24 season. 

First Half:

The Mavericks opened up with a 6-0 run until center Oumar Ballo laid the ball up to give Arizona its first points of the game. Arizona took its first lead as guard Pelle Larsson hit a jumper to make the score 13-11. The lead was traded back and forth as Arizona tried to settle in and take control of the score but UT Arlington would constantly answer any shot made. Guard Caleb Love had missed his first six shots of the game up until he hit a crucial 3-pointer to put Arizona up 35-32. This contributed to a 9-0 run the Wildcats went on approaching the last three minutes of the first half. UT Arlington forward Shemar Wilson was a key contributor as he led the Mavericks with 15 first-half points. Additionally, guard Fabio Basili – who is a recent transfer from the University of Louisville – was UT Arlington’s second-leading scorer with 6 points. Arizona finished the half on a 6-0 run leading the Mavericks 43-37 as Ballo and forward Keshad Johnson both led with 9 points each.

Second Half: 

Arizona came out of the locker room controlling the game offensively, as Love opened up the second half with a layup followed by a 3-point shot made by Larsson beyond the arc. Arizona was suddenly on a 14-0 run in the first five minutes of the second half when the game was now turned around with a score of 57-37. The Wildcats took a 20 point lead with four of their starters in double figures. Offense clearly broke out for Arizona as UT Arlington failed to find an answer to the growing lead that was now at 31 points caused by a dunk made by center Motiejus Krivas

Pelle Larsson celebrates a breakaway dunk against the University of Texas at Arlington in McKale Center on Sunday, Nov. 19. Larsson gathered a game high of three offensive rebounds as well as scoring 13 points of his own.
(Mason Kumet)

The Mavericks would try to creep back in with layups from Wilson and center Darrius Miles but ultimately couldn’t fight against the 76-43 score. Wilson would finish leading for UT Arlington with 19 points, as he was the only player who reached double digits for the Mavericks. The Wildcats took care of home court as the second half closed out and seven of Arizona’s players were in double figures. Guard Kylan Boswell and Ballo each got a pair of 15 points, being the leading scorers of the game for Arizona. Guards Larsson and Jaden Bradley followed behind them both scoring 13 points. Additionally, KJ Lewis caught nine rebounds, taking care of the ball for Arizona.

Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd was asked about comfort in the rotation and the ability to use any player necessary: “I am comfortable with any of them,” Lloyd said.  “You know like a guy like KJ [Lewis], he just really impacts the game […]. I always joke in practice, ‘who’s going to get a loose ball besides KJ [Lewis]’ cause he gets all of them and he does it in games and those are run starters.” The game came to an end as the Wildcats took a 101-56 victory over UT Arlington, giving Arizona a 5-0 record

Looking ahead: 

Arizona will be off to meet No. 18 Michigan State University for its next game, which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 23, at 2:00 p.m. in Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, California, to face the Spartans.  

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