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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats blow by Bears

Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona men’s basketball team hosted Northern Colorado in a college basketball game Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010, in McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rolled to a 93-70 victory.

The Arizona basketball walk-ons have seen more minutes in the first three games than they saw all of last season, proving how the Wildcats have manhandled their first three opponents.

On Sunday, Arizona blew out yet another team in McKale Center, dismantling Northern Colorado The 93-70 victory gave the Wildcats their first 3-0 start since the 2002-03 season.

Through three games the Wildcats have the looks of a team on a mission, and Derrick Williams didn’t shy away from revealing the team’s early season goals after the game.

“”This team is trying real hard to be a top-25 team,”” Williams said. “”That’s where we want to be and we just have to beat everybody by 20-30 points. Even though we’re not playing very great teams right now, we’re just trying to set the tone. We just want to be a top-25 team.””  

Williams led the way as usual, with 15 points and eight rebounds in just 23 minutes of play. The sophomore made his first 3-pointer of the season, which was only his second jump shot in three games. Until that point, all his points had come on lay-ups and dunks.

“”Honestly I don’t know if they’re scouting me right or what,”” Williams joked about getting so many easy looks in the first three games. “”I’m wide open a lot and it leads to dunks.””

Williams wasn’t the only front court player to play well for the Wildcats. Center Kyryl Natyazhko had one of his best games as a Wildcat, showing a newfound confidence in his shooting, which was rare last season. Natyazhko scored nine points on 4-for-5 shooting, including a 3-pointer.

“”I worked a lot on the jump shot (this summer). Coach keeps telling me if I’m open I’ve got to shoot it,”” Natyazko said. “”My confidence is much higher and I’ve played better because of it.””

Arizona wasn’t perfect on the offensive end but its defense on the Bears was key, limiting them to 31 percent from the field in the first half and 35 percent for the game.

The Wildcats appear to be buying into Miller’s defensive philosophy. The Bears’ leading scorer Devon Beitzel, who averaged 18 points coming into the game, did not score a field goal and finished with only two points.

“”The fact that (Devon) Beitzel didn’t score a field goal was a real credit to our team,”” Miller said. “”I hope that’s something in the future we can always do, not that we’re going to always hold a leading scorer to two points but make the game hard for them.””

All of Arizona’s starters scored in double figures except Jamelle Horne, who scored five points and only played eight minutes due to foul trouble.

Freshman point guard Jordin Mayes added another solid performance off the bench, and starting point guard Momo Jones played better than the previous two games. But Miller made it clear he must improve and that freshman Mayes could see more time.

“”Our point guard position right now needs to be split,”” Miller said. “”We have more of a one-two punch at point guard than just a starter and back-up.

“”Momo has to play better. He had zero assist and four turnovers,”” he added. “”The fact that he didn’t have any (assists) is concerning, I know he’s not happy with that. I really know his coach isn’t.””

Arizona has had three games against inferior competition, which will probably continue in their next game on Tuesday against Bethune-Cookman.

“”I’m not looking past anyone, but everyone wants to play Kansas,”” Williams said. “”We have another good game coming up, so we’re not looking past anyone.””

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