Wildcats win season opener

Arizona used a solid second half effort to defeat Valparaiso on Monday night. Read on to see how it went down.

There may have been a slow start on Monday, but the second half is where Arizona made it count.

Arizona used an impressive second half effort to defeat Valparaiso 73-64 in the season opener.

Valparaiso jumped out relatively quick after Broekhoff scored and Kevin Van Wijk hit a free throw to make it 3-0. However, the teams then exchanged buckets before Arizona got its first lead when a Kyle Fogg layup made it 6-5 about five minutes in. With the game tied at seven, Nick Johnson hit a three and Fogg followed with a layup to force Valparaiso to call timeout as Arizona led 12-7.

The Wildcats extended their lead to seven despite turning the ball over twice in a row, as Jesse Perry and Josiah Turner both had nice drives to grab the 16-9 lead at about the ten minute mark. Valparaiso cut the lead to three after an Angelo Chol jumper when Erik Buggs hit a free throw and Valpo rebounded the second attempt and Broekhoff hit a three-pointer.

Valparaiso was then able to get the lead when Solomon Hill fouled Jay Harris, who hit both free throws for the 19-18 lead with over seven minutes left in the first half. Arizona got the lead right back, however, as Johnson hit two free throws for the one-point lead.

However, Valparaiso stormed right back behind a Broekhoff three and two free throws from Will Bogan to get a four-point lead. Perry and Johnson cut it down right away with a two by Perry and three by Johnson, as the teams then exchanged baskets with Valparaiso leading 26-25. With Valpo up 30-27, Perry scored two straight buckets and Fogg added a free throw to put Arizona up 32-30 going into the half.

Arizona started the half quickly, as Fogg hit two free throws and then came down and hit a layup to put Arizona up 36-30 less than two minutes in. Valpo tried to come back behind Van Wijk, who hit three of four free throws, but Perry continues to be the best player in the game, as he helped Arizona maintain a five-point lead.

Jordin Mayes then extended that lead by hitting a three-pointer and following it up with a two. Angelo Chol then grabbed a rebound and got the ball back to score, as Arizona's 7-0 run forced a Valparaiso timeout and gave the Wildcats a 45-33 lead with over 13 minutes left in the second half. Mayes then hit another three to extend the lead to 15 and give Arizona complete momentum.

The lead stayed at 15 until about the eight minute mark when Chol blocked a shot and Perry found Josiah Turner, who got fouled and hit one of two free throws to push the lead to 16. Fogg then came down and took his man off the dribble to hit a jumper and put Arizona up 59-41 with under seven minutes left in regulation.

Arizona's lead basically stayed in that area, as a bucket by Hill put it at 18 points with under three minutes left. Perry then hit a jumper not too long after and Arizona had its first 20-point lead of the night.

Perry finished with 14 points and ten rebounds, Fogg with 16 points, and Johnson with 14 of his own, as Arizona shot 47.9 % for the game.

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