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Cats overwhelm Buccaneers

East Tennessee State had few answers for the fourth-ranked Wildcats Saturday during a 73-53 loss in first round action at the Diamond Head Classic. Despite committing 18 turnovers, Arizona (10-0) remained perfect on the season by holding the Buccaneers to just 22 percent shooting in the first half while building a 38-17 advantage at the break.

Kevin Parrom remains Arizona's key contributor off the bench.

Arizona’s height and size proved too much for ETSU as the Bucs finished the game 18-for-58 from the floor while being outrebounded 46-24 on the glass. Arizona grabbed 13 offensive boards on the night that included several put-back opportunities that ended in points either at the rim or at the foul line.

The Wildcats were led by freshman forward Brandon Ashley, who finished with a double-double by tallying 16 points and 10 rebounds. No other Wildcat scored in double figures.

ETSU got 21 points from Jarvis Jones while Lester Wilson chipped in nine points and five rebounds.

Arizona scored the game’s first 11 points and led 25-8 with 11:16 to play in the opening frame. The teams then each went cold from the floor until the 7:16 mark when ETSU’s Jones hit a runner in the lane to snap a nearly four-minute scoreless stretch by each club. The Wildcats quickly reestablished their dominance, opening up a 21-point lead with 1:22 left, and then holding that scoring advantage as the team’s headed to the locker room.

Nick Johnson had seven points, four rebounds and two assists at the break but failed to score the rest of the way as he spent most of the second half on the bench. Teammate and leading scorer Mark Lyons picked up his fourth foul less than four minutes into the second half, but did finish the game with eight points and four assists.

Interestingly, Arizona’s top three scorers Lyons, Johnson and Solomon Hill combined to make just 7-of-24 field goals to score 22 points. No worries, however, as Arizona’s four main freshmen contributors had the hot hand.

Wildcats Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski, Grant Jerrett and Gabe York were a combined 14-for-24 from the field, good enough for 37 of the team’s 73 points.

Following Lyons’ fourth foul, his second whistle in less than 15 seconds, Arizona struggled somewhat against the ETUS 2-3 zone defense. The Wildcats committed their sixth turnover of the second half with nearly 15 minutes to play and only led 42-26. ETSU’s Jones then hit an open jumper to trim Arizona’s lead to 42-28. However, the Wildcats would quickly respond with a 9-2 scoring run to extend its advantage back to 51-30. During the run, senior Kevin Parrom had two offensive rebounds and put-backs that bookended a three-point play by Hill.

From there, Arizona cruised and eventually built its largest lead of the game at 68-38 on back-to-back treys by York and Jordin Mayes.

ETSU entered the game ranked 336th among Division I teams in field goal shooting percentage (37.5%). The Bucs will drop statistically after making just 31 percent of their field goal attempts against the Wildcats. Arizona was slightly better at 42.4 percent shooting (25-for-59), but struggled from behind the arc making just nine of the team’s 26 three-point attempts.

Follow me on Twitter @GaryRandazzo, and follow the website @WSRArizona.

  • I thought that may have been the most underwhelming performance I witnessed this season after the 11-0 start of the game.

    I'm not sure if the guys just didn't care after that start knowing they could cruise, or what it was exactly, but it was bad. As was pointed out in the Miller press conference, turnovers were terrible again, and I'm glad he pointed out the long three's that were just like turnovers. Soloman jacked up two Medowlark Lemon Globetrotter half court three's in a row at one point that weren't close. I'm surprised he didn't get pulled. It looked like Lyons just got cocky at times and thought he could put his head down like a bull and drive in the lane and get foul calls. The zone defense confused us more than it should have. Yes, we made some nice plays, but wow it was hard to watch for the most part our execution.

    One thing in particular I wanted to ask is what is happening to Jordin Mayes? He seems to be going backwards in his junior year in a lot of areas. Yes, he hit a three once, but also launched an airball. He doesn't seem in control of the offense when he's running the point, and his passing hasn't been that good lately. I'm not even sure his defense is worth him being out there. I wouldn't hesitate at this point to say Nick Johnson should run the point spot more often when Lyons needs a rest and have Parrom or York at the two guard.

    On the positive side, our defense is still really good and the guys seemed to keep up the instensity for the most part on that side of the court. The freshmen continue to impress and will really be hitting on all cylinders come March. The Miami game tonight is big. Our win over Florida doesn't quite look so great now after the Gators fell to an unranked Kansas State team. Miami is really playing well. The Cats really need to win this tournament, and they better play a lot better than yesterday or they're in the third place game on Christmas Day.

  • Kansas State's losses are to then #4 Michigan and #14 Gonzaga. Florida may still be reeling a bit from the shocking come back we gave them.

    Good: Our frosh handled the holiday atmosphere and long road trip well.

    Bad: Seniors played like freshmen, should have been up 30 at the half and cruised with the 2nd string after

    Ugly: Mayes, ahem, "progress", Chol's brick hands

    Bear Down Arizona! Wildcat Sports Report, CFO AZ's Certified Tax Coach at Wildcat Tax &

  • per 40 numbers

    Pts Rb Ast TO Stl A/TO FG 3Pt
    Gabe 19 3 6 2 2 3.5:1 .474 .333
    Mayes 11 2 4 4 3 1.1:1 .394 .316

    This post was edited by bpwildcat 16 months ago

    Bear Down Arizona! Wildcat Sports Report, CFO AZ's Certified Tax Coach at Wildcat Tax &

  • I was wondering why York isn't in over Mayes at this point. Mayes seemed to play well at the end of his freshman year and hasn't really done anything since. I know last year shouldn't count, but this eyar he has been aweful when he's on the court

  • Gary Randazzo

    Still a few little things to work out on defense for York. By way of example, he has a really bad habit of losing sight of his man when the shot goes up. York needs to learn to understand that even if you're not having to box out your guy because your man is standing at the 3-Point line, you still need to maintain some semblance of ball-me-man positioning. Last night, York turned his back to his man on three occasions during a shot attempt by ETSU and once his man rushed the rim and grabbed on offensive board.

    On the offensive end, York has all the tools. His handle looks solid, he's making great passes and his shot his pure. He did over penetrate along the baseline but once, but that's a very common mistake made by any player.

    As for Mayes, I'm not seeing it. His performance has declined incredibly over the past 4 games.

    WSR Publisher National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Football Writers Association of America U.S. Basketball Writers Association

  • If we get into trouble in upcoming games, it will be because of ball handling and turnovers.

    I don't so much point to one guy, but our overall ball handling is too casual, too predictable, and a sharp ball-hawk can get his fingers in for a steal way too easily. We need to fix that pronto.

    I think in general we are in pretty good shape for December, but this is where progress has to be made every game. If these guys are getting too cocky, Coach Miller has to, and will, come down on it in a hurry. Confidence is an asset, but we can't take an attitude into conference play, or we'll get an ugly lesson.

    I do think Jordin is in a slump. He had one last year, and he hopefully will pull out of this soon.


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