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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats hope to improve on opening blunders in upcoming game against Bradley

Rebecca Noble

Arizona forward Ryan Anderson (12) hijacks a shot by Pacific during the Wildcats’ win in McKale Center on Friday, Nov. 13. No. 12 Arizona faces Bradley on Monday, Nov. 16, looking to improve on their opening game performance.

Arizona men’s basketball guard Gabe York graded his team’s season opening victory with a “B.” 

York and the Wildcats will look to knock up that letter grade Monday evening when they take on the Bradley Braves of the Missouri Valley Conference.

No. 12 Arizona did a lot of things right in its debut 79-61 win against Pacific, but a sluggish performance by the UA’s underclassmen is what stuck out most to head coach Sean Miller.

When sophomore Parker Jackson-Cartwright and a host of freshmen were put into the game in the second half, the coach watched a smooth-sailing performance take a wrong turn. 

“You will never see that group out there in the next 37 games,” Miller said after the Pacific win. “They’ll learn every day in practice, but they’re not going to learn in a game like that.” 

Arizona’s three freshmen — Allonzo Trier, Justin Simon and Chance Comanche — combined to make just one field goal. Trier alone went 1-10 from the field. 

Jackson-Cartwright, who was fighting for the starting point guard spot heading into the season, made 1-6 attempts in the opener. He also committed three turnovers to two assists in the 22 minutes he was on the floor. 

Starting at the one-spot ahead of Jackson-Cartwright was Kadeem Allen, the former junior college transfer who had to sit out last season due to NCAA rules. 

Allen impressed in his first career game as a Wildcat and is expected to receive the start Monday night as well. 

“He just plays the game hard,” Miller said. “He gives great effort, he gives tremendous energy and his floor game and how he played [Friday night]; he did a great job.” 

Arizona’s other expected starters include York, Mark Tollefsen, Kaleb Tarczewski and Ryan Anderson — all of whom are seniors. 

The UA experience could provide a significant edge Monday night against Bradley. 

The Braves are one of the youngest teams in college basketball, as their roster features 10 freshmen, one sophomore, one junior and two seniors. 

Bradley sneaked out a 54-53 victor over Ball State in its season opener. All four of Bradley’s top scorers were freshmen. 

Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye, a 6-foot-3-inch guard out of London, led the Braves with 18 points and dished out another three assists. With him, 6-foot-9-inch forward Callum Barker added another 14 points and nine rebounds. 

In simple math, the pair combined for 59 percent of the team’s points. 

Otherwise, the Braves lacked offensive threat in the win. The team combined to shoot just 31.9 percent from the field and made 5-20 3-pointer attempts. 

One more thing going against Bradley’s favor is the Braves’ lack of height, compared to Arizona. 

Bradley’s tallest player — 6-foot-10-inch center Davonte Cooper — played scarcely against Ball State. 

Meanwhile, Arizona looked comfortable playing a tall lineup that included Tollefsen, Anderson and Tarczewski.

The three big men played together for much of the first half versus Pacific.

Anderson led Arizona with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Tarczewski and Tollefsen pitched in with nine and 10 points respectively. 

Arizona and Bradley tip off at 8 p.m. in McKale Center. The game will also be televised on Pac-12 Networks.

Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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