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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Canada conquered

    Canada posed little challenge to the Arizona men’s basketball team, as the Wildcats won all five games by double digits during their four-day stay in Vancouver.

    Although UA associate head coach Jim Rosborough said the international rules had little effect on the team’s play, one of the Wildcats’ stable of international players stood out. Australian Daniel Dillon, who battled a fractured foot all summer and wasn’t cleared to play until last week, led the Wildcats in scoring by averaging 12.4 points per game.

    “”I thought Daniel overall was our most consistent player on the entire trip,”” assistant coach Josh Pastner said. “”He played really well, did a very nice job both offensively and defensively.””

    The junior guard started all five contests and shot 56.4 percent from the field, including over 50 percent from 3-point range.

    “”Daniel is just a hard-nosed, tough kid who knows how to play hard, and when you have a kid that plays hard all the time, injury or not, he’s always going to produce,”” Pastner said.

    Despite a sluggish start in the first game against Saskatchewan, when the Wildcats shot 36.1 percent from the field in the first half and less than 45 percent on the first day, reminiscent of last year’s shooting woes, Arizona picked it up on the second day, shooting more than 50 percent in a 106-78 win over the Vancouver All-Stars and a 73-45 win over Simon Fraser University.

    Perhaps the biggest challenge came in the last game, yesterday against the University of British Colombia, whom the Wildcats had already dispatched 73-59 on Saturday. Arizona led by just one at the half and trailed with just more than seven minutes to play before rallying to fend off the Thunderbirds 87-76.

    Dillon was instrumental once again, hitting two 3-pointers in the run, and freshman guard Nic Wise went off for a team-high 21 points to cap off the Wildcats’ sweep.

    “”It was a good thing that they tested us,”” said Rosborough, who also noted that British Colombia “”played much better than when we played them the first time. We had to perform in the second half and did.””

    Head coach Lute Olson used two lineups, which switched off every five minutes, comprised of the veteran unit (Bret Brielmaier, Kirk Walters, Dillon, Mustafa Shakur and Marcus Williams) and the underclassman unit (Wise, Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, Mohamed Tangara, J.P. Prince and Fendi Onobun, who played in the last two games and David Bagga, who was sprinkled in accordingly).

    Only in the last seven minutes of the last game did Olson stray from the lineups and reward players for their previous play, according to Rosborough, who said Wise, Shakur, Dillon, Williams, Brielmaier, Tangara and Hill played down the stretch.

    Budinger, the cream of the freshman crop, played in only the first two games after suffering from what Pastner called the flu. He scored five points in eight minutes in his first game Saturday morning and had 10 points, five assists and four steals in his second game Saturday night.

    Aside from Dillon’s consistent play and Wise’s deadly shooting in the last game, walk-on forward Bret Brielmaier’s 24-point (9-of-10 on field goals) performance against the Vancouver All-Stars was noteworthy, as was the play of Hill, who had 11 points and seven rebounds in the same game and averaged 8.2 points per game on the weekend.

    The most important part of the trip, however, according to both Rosborough and Pastner, had little to do with the exhibition games in Canada. The 10 practices Arizona had prior to the trip were singled out by the Wildcat assistants as the key element to the development of the team.

    Spending time together in a foreign place wasn’t a bad thing either.

    “”These five games were very good for us because it was good camaraderie, everyone got a lot of playing time, (and) we got to see what we need to work on and things that we did well at,”” Pastner said.

    Scores from Canada


    Arizona 76, Saskatchewan 61
    Arizona 73, British Columbia 59


    Arizona 106, Vancouver All-Stars 78
    Arizona 73, Simon Fraser 45


    Arizona 87, British Columbia 76

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