Arizona opened the season with a 79-61 win over Pacific on Friday night. Here's a closer look at what happened:
Player of the Game:
Ryan Anderson - The senior kicked off his first game in a an Arizona uniform with a double-double. Anderson finished the game with 18 points and 12 rebounds, leading his team in those categories. The Boston College transfer also added two steals and an assist in the win, showing that he was clearly the best player on the court for eithe rteam.
- The offense wasn't quite flowing for Arizona to start the game, but the Wildcats were eventually able to put some distance between themselves and the Pacific Tigers. With just over six minutes left in the first half, Gabe York and Allonzo Trier hit back-to-back three pointers to give Arizona a 16-point lead, the largest of the game to that point.
- Midway through the second half, Pacific made a run to cut the Arizona lead to just 15, but Mark Tollefsen changed that. The big man scored on an up-and-under play, getting fouled in the process. After the free throw, the senior had a huge block that killed all of the Tigers' momentum and putting the game away for good.
Stat of the Game:
51 - As has been the case since Sean Miller arrived at Arizona, the Wildcats dominated the glass in the home opener. Arizona grabbed 51 rebounds on the night, allowing Pacific to get just 28. Astonishingly, the Wildcats pulled down 17 offensive boards, leading to 12 second change points.
Arizona played a solid game, but it wasn't pretty for the entire night. The Wildcats had several stretches throughout the game with scoring droughts. The offense flowed much smoother with Kadeem Allen on the floor and seemed to stagnate at times with Parker Jackson-Cartwright running the point.
As for positives, if York can consistently put up double figures while shooting 50-percent or higher throughout the season, then Arizona is in a good place. The senior showed off a few skills he had been working on in the game, including drives to the basket and backing down a smaller defender.
Some of the other Wildcats are still feeling out their roles on the court though, with Trier finishing the game with just one field goal in ten attempts. Justin Simon played limited minutes for the Wildcats, but struggled to get into a groove on the court logging three fouls and a turnover in just eight minutes. The two freshmen will get accustomed to the pace of the game, but need to improve if Arizona is going to contend for a conference title
Sean Miller Quotable:
"The message simply is: when you are given the opportunity, you have to be ready," Sean Miller said. "This is an opportunity for us to watch those guys out there and that period of time is something that I wish we could have done better at.
"I will never do that again. You will never see that group out there again in the next 37 games."
"I think there are a lot of things we will see on film tomorrow that we didn't do well," York said. "For instance, with scouting we go over all of their plays and what they do. We went over one play over and over again and we just couldn't guard it. It's a little scary, but at the same time, we're glad to be 1-0 and overall I think our performance would be a B or somewhere around there."