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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcats hop past Kangaroos

    Arizona guard Daniel Dillon shoots a fade away jumper in last nights 81-62 win over Missouri-Kansas City in McKale Center. Dillon went 4-for-4 from the floor including three 3s in a career-high 14-point effort.
    Arizona guard Daniel Dillon shoots a fade away jumper in last night’s 81-62 win over Missouri-Kansas City in McKale Center. Dillon went 4-for-4 from the floor including three 3s in a career-high 14-point effort.

    Daniel Dillon must have felt right at home last night with the Arizona men’s basketball team playing the Kangaroos.

    The Wildcats’ Australian guard did not miss a shot all night, scoring a career-high 14 points in only 17 minutes while playing his usual hounding defense.

    That and a large dose of freshman guard Jerryd Bayless, who finished a rebound and an assist shy of a triple-double, helped Arizona (2-1) defeat Missouri-Kansas City (1-3), 81-62, in McKale Center.

    “”I felt good shooting the ball, so I just kept shooting it,”” Dillon said, “”and they were sinking, so I had a lot of confidence.””

    Dillon hit all four of his shots, with three coming from 3-point range, and all three of his free throws on his perfect shooting night, but four personal fouls prevented him from playing longer.

    The performance came in his second straight start, after he scored five points in a career-high 37 minutes Saturday against Virginia.

    “”Daniel’s played great in the last two games. He really has,”” said UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. “”He’s given us solid minutes. He’s only taking open shots and making open shots. He looks like he’s starting to settle into a comfortable role. Defensively, he’s really good. He’s a vet, he’s been around. I’m happy for Daniel.””

    Bayless filled up the entire box score, scoring 20 points on 5-of-7 shooting while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out nine assists. On the other hand, he also turned the ball over six times.

    “”He missed a quadruple-double by four turnovers also,”” O’Neill said. “”But no matter who you’re playing as a freshman, that’s a great night. He’s competitive. He’s a little bit of a bull in the china closet sometimes.””

    Bayless carried the Wildcats through another sluggish first half, leading the team with 11 points and seven assists. He scored seven points in 49 seconds after Missouri-Kansas City had taken a four-point lead 13 minutes into the first half.

    “”He’s doing a great job. He’s got to keep playing the way he’s playing,”” said guard Jawann McClellan. “”He’s a competitor, he’s tough. He’s not going to back down from anything.””

    Fellow freshman guard Laval Lucas-Perry provided a surprise spark in the first half, scoring his first five career points and providing energy on the defensive end. He started the second half when O’Neill wanted to wait to bring in Dillon and his three fouls.

    Lucas-Perry finished with nine points and five rebounds, validating recent solid play in practice, although he did not come away completely pleased with his 24 minutes, the most substantial playing time of his career.

    “”I could have done a lot better. Missing layups, free throws and turnovers – a lot of freshman mistakes,”” Lucas-Perry said.

    The freshmen helped the Wildcats shoot 64.1 percent for the game, including 70 percent in the second half. The Kangaroos shot 35 percent last night.

    Arizona steadied its 3-point defense by getting up close to the Kangaroo shooters, holding them to 7-of-27 (25.9 percent) from long range, including 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) in the first half.

    The Wildcats focused their game plan around improvement in this category against a Missouri-Kansas City squad that shot an average of 25.7 3-pointers in its first three games. Arizona had allowed opponents to hit 48.7 percent of their 3-pointers entering the contest, including Virginia’s nine of 13 attempts in Saturday’s first half.

    “”We closed out, whether they were three feet behind the arc or just a step behind the arc,”” Lucas-Perry said. “”The last game we didn’t do that, because they hit 3s in our faces. We just worked on close-outs, (made) sure we’re in their air space.””

    Leading by 11 five minutes into the second half, the Wildcats used an 11-0 run in just over 1:30 to pull away, highlighted by nine points from Dillon.

    Still, O’Neill said he was “”disappointed”” in Arizona’s rebounding, as both teams grabbed 30 boards.

    On top of that, tar forward Chase Budinger had a quiet night, scoring 11 points on only five shots, while grabbing a single rebound in 32 minutes.

    “”The good news is that we and won by (19) and played a pretty efficient game with him not doing much,”” O’Neill said.

    And 1

    An Arizona fan brought a sign that said “”Daniel Dillon eats kangaroo for Thanksgiving,”” somewhat appropriate in light of Dillon’s career day. “”I’m not a wild-animal eater,”” Dillon said. “”I eat normal beef. I don’t like kangaroos. I thought that was funny, though.”” … Forward Jamelle Horne scored the first four points of his career after being held scoreless in 29 minutes Nov. 13 against NAU and being benched against the Cavaliers.

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