Arizona Opens Season With Win

What a way to open the season for Arizona. Arizona, #8, took on Kansas to start their 2005-06 campaign tonight in the Maui Inivational Tournament. This year's Maui Invitational is one of the greatest preseason tournaments ever assembled and the UA came away with a 61-49 win over the Jayhawks, and Lute Olson moved to 19-3 in season openers for Arizona.

Arizona opened up the game strong pulling ahead to a 20-4 lead with just over 11 minutes left in the first half. The UA offense was suspect in the game, but Kansas' was not much better. The Cats were able to come away with the lead at the half using good hustle and great defense. All things told Arizona led 35-29 at halftime, ending the half with a Kansas turnover.

Arizona did not play particularly well the first half, but their defensive tenacity kept them in the game, forcing 14 Jayhawk turnovers in the first half. Arizona only shot 29% in the first half.

Kansas made it close in the second half as they tied it up 41-41. Arizona then countered with a 14-3 run giving the Cats a 55-44 advantage with 4:05 left in the game, which was enough for Arizona to come away with the win despite shooting 28% for the game..

Kirk Walters was instrumental in the UA attack tallying a career high 13 points. He also added seven rebounds, all while committing just one foul.

The turnovers continued for both sides as they combined for over 40 total turnovers.

Brett Brielmaier did not get the start that was thought to be his, though he saw solid time playing 14 minutes and tallying three points, and four rebounds.

Hassan Adams did not have his best performance shooting 2 of 14 for eight points and five rebounds.

Arizona struggled offensively in the game tonight, as they had early on last season. One should realize that the coaching staff is looking to red shirt Jesus Verdejo. Sophomore Jawann McClellan is academically ineligible and will return later on this season.

Overall, it was not what you may have been looking for in Arizona's first game of the season, but there is much to look forward to as this team is talented defensively, impressive on the boards, and very deep.

Arizona will now face the winner of the Arkansas/UConn matchup in the semifinals of the Maui Inivational tomorrow night at 7:00 pm MST.

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