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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


The good and the bad from Arizona MBB’s first round victory over Wright State

Ryan Wohl

(#0) Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin shoots a 3-pointer on Friday, March 18 against Wright State University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

SAN DIEGO —In Arizona’s first NCAA Tournament game, the Arizona men’s basketball team was victorious, beating Wright State University 87-70. There were plenty of positives to take away from the game; however, Tommy Lloyd needs to address a few things if the Wildcats want to advance in the next round. 

The Good: 3-point shooting

There were bright spots to take away from today’s game. Arizona continued to shoot the ball well from outside. Throughout much of the season, Arizona struggled in this department. Now being in March and seeing shots fall through the net, there is certainly reason to smile as an Arizona fan. Second, Pelle Larsson has been lights out the past two months and shot 3/4 tonight, providing a spark off the bench. 

Finally, Bennedict Mathurin shot 40%, converting on four of ten attempts. However, at times his shot selection was somewhat questionable. If he were to stick taking open looks, it is evident that he would be shooting much more efficiently. As a team, the Wildcats were 11/20 from three. The free-throw shooting continued to improve as the mid-season struggles left plenty of points off the board for Lloyd’s group. Arizona converted on 10 of 12 attempts from the line. 

The Bad: Turnovers are still an issue

Throughout the game, turnovers were an issue. Arizona had ten turnovers in the first 10 minutes, both a combination of open-court and dead-ball turnovers. It will forever be unclear if the lackadaisical start had to do with being over-anxious as the Wildcats were playing a 16 seed or if they were simply playing ahead of themselves. 

Before today, nobody on Arizona’s team had played in the NCAA Tournament. Therefore, it is common for many to be nervous. Post-game head coach Lloyd spoke about this issue. “We had a lot of turnovers, and it was from everybody, all these guys’ playing minutes. We’ve got to tighten it up,” Lloyd said. “I don’t want these guys to play conservatively.”

Arizona had been challenged playing their past three games without starting guard Kerr Kriisa. However, despite his ankle injury, the sophomore guard looks to be progressing in the right direction, and the team is hopeful he will be back soon. Having Kriisa back in the lineup will help everyone get back to their regular offensive roles. 

The number one seeded Wildcats will take Saturday off and get ready to play Texas Christian University Sunday at the Viejas Arena.

Follow Aidan Alperstein on Twitter

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