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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats pick up scrappy win

Janice+Biancavilla%2F+Daily+Wildcat%0AUA+defeats+Duquesne+67-59+on+Wednesday%2C+Nov.+9%2C+2011
Janice Biancavilla
Janice Biancavilla/ Daily Wildcat UA defeats Duquesne 67-59 on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011

Arizona isn’t going to win games on talent alone.

The Wildcats don’t have a Derrick Williams this season. They don’t have a Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill or even Nic Wise. Until Arizona’s four freshmen develop and Kevin Parrom returns, the Wildcats need to win ugly, scrappy games with a different player stepping up every night. So far, so good.

The Wildcats did exactly that Wednesday night against Duquesne.

The Dukes made the game as hectic as possible, employing a full-court press for 40 minutes, forcing the Wildcats into a season-high 20 turnovers.

They got Kyle Fogg, Nick Johnson and Kyryl Natyazhko in early foul trouble. Duquesne made Solomon Hill force the issue, and once again, the junior struggled, this time committing four turnovers without making a bucket.

But despite Arizona’s struggles in a game full of constant pressure and an abundance of fouls, the Wildcats persevered.

Jordin Mayes stepped in as the go-go guy, scoring 19 points in 27 minutes while Josiah Turner struggled.

Jesse Perry dominated the boards, racking up his second straight double-double with 11 points and 11 boards in a team-high 34 minutes.

Freshman Angelo Chol stepped up with six points, seven boards and a block in 20 minutes. Even Brendon Lavender scored seven points, grabbed four boards, and dished out two assists.

And the Wildcats scratched and clawed their way to a victory. It wasn’t picture perfect. Sean Miller would love to eliminate Arizona’s 20 turnovers.

Hill would be more than happy to play up to his potential. Fogg would take back his six turnovers if he could.

But the Wildcats got a scrappy win, and tonight won’t be the last time they’re asked to win such a game. With Arizona lacking a go-to guy, and new faces in new roles, that’s how it’s going to be most of the season.

Williams isn’t going to come walking through the McKale Center doors. Miles Simon won’t jump from press row onto the court in his old No. 21 Arizona jersey.

This is what Miller has to work with, and offensive balance, a different player stepping up on a nightly basis and stifling defense is the recipe for success.

Mayes rose to the occasion.

Seven different players finished with more than five points.
And Arizona held Duquesne to 35.2 percent shooting. The Wildcats forced the Dukes to miss 19 of their first 24 shots.

Those are the wins that will get Arizona through the growing pains of playing true freshmen major minutes. Those victories eliminate the need for a go-to guy down the stretch.

Arizona’s won these gut-check battles in back-to-back games against a tough Valparaiso team and scrappy Duquesne team.

It remains to be seen how the Wildcats will hold up against the Cals and UCLAs of the world. But Miller has said time and time again that it’s not where this team starts, it’s where it finishes.

If the Wildcats are winning scrappy games like they have been, the freshmen develop, and Parrom returns, this team’s finish may not be too bad after all.

— Mike Schmitz is a marketing senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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