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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Chol shines in win over Cal

Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat Arizona Wildcats basketball first half action against the Cal Golden Bears from Haas Pavilion on the Campus of the University of California, Berkeley.

BERKELEY, Calif. — It would have been easy for freshman forward Angelo Chol to get down on himself and mentally check out of Thursday’s win over California after he missed his first two jump shots of the game.

After all he’s a freshman — albeit a talented one in a position of need for Arizona — and he’s made his fair share of mistakes this season. Arizona was in a hostile environment on the road and got in a 13-point hole early. It would have been hard for anyone to plame him for getting a little down on himself.

But the 6-foot-9 native of San Diego heard encouragement coming from Arizona’s coaching staff on the bench and played a pivotal role in the 78-74 win while playing his best game as a Wildcat.

“The coaches are really patient with me … they trust me so I’ve got to believe in myself,” Chol said. “I’ve just got to keep doing my thing. I can’t get down on myself.”

Chol scored eight points in 16 minutes of action and took over the game for a 2:54 stretch that saw him throw down a pair of dunks on Cal defenders, hit a free throw and block a shot while the Arizona lead ballooned up to 11 points.

“By far his best game at Arizona,” guard Kyle Fogg said. “For him it’s kind of all mental, you’ve just got to go out there and play. As a freshman he’s kind of making sure. He just wants to not mess up. I think he did a great job tonight and I think he’s a big reason we won.”

Chol’s defense played a role in slowing down Cal forward Harper Kamp at times, even though the Mesa, Ariz., product scored a season-high 22 points, and said he was “way more comfortable” on the court than he’s been at any other point this season.

But Chol’s progress hasn’t come as a surprise to those that see him work every day in practice. He’s already added noticeable muscle to his skinny frame and is more familiar with Arizona’s offensive sets and how the Wildcats operate on defense.

“I’m definitely glad to see Angelo do well. He works hard, in practice and lifting weights, so I’m glad to see him get what he deserves out of this,” forward Jesse Perry said. “You can see the great moments. He’s got to keep it consistent and he’s going to do that. He’s getting better and better by the day.”

With the ineffectiveness of Kyryl Natyazhko, Chol had a big opportunity against Cal and made the most of it. He allowed Perry to slide to play to the 4 and Solomon Hill to play the 3 — the position that each of them are more well suited for.

“He was a big reason why we won,” head coach Sean Miller said. “It was inspiring to watch him play.”

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