Cats open season with exhibition rout

It is hard to properly gauge where the Wildcat basketball after one exhibition game, but there was little to complain about after the Cats' 106-63 win over Sonoma State.

Sure the game does not count. Yes, Sonoma State is a D-II team, but the Wildcats dominated in almost every facet of the ball game.

It was almost as if the Wildcats waited until the entire crowd was seated before they started to really play. The Seawolves opened up a small 13-9 lead taking advantage of good outside shooting and a few Wildcat miscues.

In the past the Cats may let an exhibition opponent hang around for 10 minutes or even a half, but not tonight. After giving Sonoma State a small shot of confidence the Wildcats went on a 26-4 run to all but end things before the 8:00 television timeout.

It looked like a different Wildcat team than in year's past. Lute Olson trotted out the pressing defense and rotated his personnel like a hockey coach. 12 Wildcat scholarship players saw the floor in the first 5:30 of the game, with only redshirt candidate Jesus Verdejo not seeing any action. Olson constantly kept fresh players in the game, allowing the team to press and extend their defense.

The Cats limited Sonoma State to just 33% shooting and forced 23 turnovers, 14 coming off of steals.

On the offensive end the Cats showed that the four out, one-in offense could put up a lot of points. They shot 54.1% from the field and a fantastic 57.1% from beyond the arc.

Maybe the most impressive stat of the night is the fact that the team had 26 assists on just 40 baskets. It was the seniors who paved the way. Chris Rodgers led all scorers with 19 points. Rodgers hit all five of his three-point attempts added three assists in just 20 minutes of play.

Rodgers showed that he will be first in line to replace Salim Stoudamire as the team's deep outside shooter. Like the departing Stoudamire, this Portland-native also extended his range well beyond the three-point line.

Hassan Adams showed that the preseason accolades may have been well deserved. The Wildcat forward scored 13, while dishing out six assists. Adams did most of his damage either slicing to the basket or using the pull-up jumper.

Vince Ingilma led the Seahawks with 14 points.

The Wildcat freshmen made their debuts and showed that the future is indeed bright.

Marcus Williams made the start and scored 17 points. Reserve point guard J.P. Prince dished out 10 assists in the game. Both players grabbed a team-high five rebounds, joining Mohamed Tangara, Mustafa Shakur and Bret Brielmaier in that category.

Shakur and Dillon were the other two Wildcats in double figures, scoring 10 and 11 respectively.

NOTES:

*Jawann McClellan and Jesus Verdejo watched the game in street clothes. McClellan is academically ineligible, while Verdejo is attempting to redshirt.

*Kirk Walters fouled out in just 11 minutes. The last foul came on a charging call that caused Lute Olson to berate the officials for several minutes.

*All 12 available scholarship players saw the floor by the 14:00 mark of the first half.

*Brielmaier sported a recently shaved head, as well as a cut under his eye. No word on who cut his hair, but apparently the cut came courtesy of Mohamed Tangara in a heated battle during practice.

*12 players logged at least 10 minutes of play. Only walk-on David Bagga failed to get double-figures in minutes.


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