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.
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.
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