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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 4 Arizona MBB opens conference play against Cal

Mason Kumet
Arizona men’s basketball player Caleb Love explodes for a dunk after stealing the ball from Lewis-Clark State College in McKale Center on Friday, Oct. 20. This was Love’s first game with Arizona after transferring from the University of North Carolina during the offseason.

The No. 4 Arizona men’s basketball team is set to take on the University of California, Berkeley, on Friday, Dec. 29, at 8:30 p.m. in Haas Pavilion Arena in California. The Wildcats are coming off of an unfortunate loss against No. 14 Florida Atlantic University on Saturday, Dec. 23, where the Owls won 96-95.

Now with the Wildcats facing up against the Golden Bears, will look to build on their long history against them by adding another matchup to their record.

History vs. Cal

The first meeting between the two programs dates back to Feb. 1, 1924, when the Wildcats lost 38-30. As the matchups continued, Arizona maintained a lead in the current all-time series record (73-30) against California. The most recent meeting was Feb. 9, and the Wildcats defeated the Golden Bears 85-62. Arizona has consecutively won the last 13 meetings.

Cal players to watch

The Golden Bears (4-7) currently sit in 10th place in the Pac-12 Conference. In their most recent game, the Golden Bears pulled out a 71-67 victory against the University of California, San Diego; Cal’s Fardaws Aimaq scored 19 points and 10 rebounds. Additionally, the 6-foot-11 forward utilized his rebounding and defensive skills to block three shots in the game, a game-high for the season.

The Texas Tech transfer currently is the team’s second-leading scoring, averaging 16.9 points per game, and is the team’s leading scorer in rebounding, averaging 10.7 rebounds. Aimaq will continue to look to be a force on the floor with him currently leading the Pac-12 in rebounding. Guard Jaylon Tyson is also a transfer from Texas Tech and is the team’s leading scorer averaging 19.4 ppg. Tyson played a crucial role in the win against UC San Diego when he threw an assist to Aimaq, giving the Golden Bears the momentum they needed to win. He leads the team with 3.5 assists.

NAU transfer Jalen Cone has used his shooting ability to propel Cal in scoring, averaging 3.7 three-pointers a game. In the game against UC San Diego, he scored 15 points on five 3-pointers, giving the Golden Bears an advantage in the game. Cone currently averages 16.3 ppg and is someone to keep an eye on when the ball is in his hands.

Arizona players to watch

During the game against FAU, Oumar Ballo was a force on the boards racking in 21 rebounds. Ballo is this week’s Pac-12 Player of the Week and has been effective on both sides of the floor with his improvements in impacting the opportunities of shot-making down the stretch of games. Additionally, he averages 12.9 ppg and leads the team in rebounding, grabbing 8.1 rebounds a game.

Caleb Love led Arizona in the game against FAU with 26 points and five rebounds. The former North Carolina Tarheel played a vital role in the game making clutch free throws to try and lead Arizona to victory but ultimately, the Wildcats came up short. Love is the team’s leading scorer averaging 16.5 ppg. Kylan Boswell continues to impress as he notably put up five steals in the past two games for Arizona and averages 1.9 steals per game.

Boswell’s defensive prowess gives him the ability to find the ball; he also averages 12 ppg and leads the assist category with 4.4 assists per game. The guard also adds his impression from long range as he currently shoots 43.1% from 3-point range making his impact felt all over the court.

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