Junior Daniel Dillon and sophomore Mohamed Tangara combined for 25 points and seven rebounds to lead the Wildcats to a 76-61 exhibition win over the University of Saskatchewan Saturday afternoon in War Memorial Gymnasium.
Dillon, a 6-foot-3 guard from Melbourne, Australia, tallied 10 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, connecting on 6-of-9 field goal attempts in the contest. He sank 4-of-5 shots in the game's final 10 minutes.
His point total for the game was six points better than his career high. Dillon was one of the few Wildcats to look comfortable in the first game of this five-game tour in Vancouver.
"We're playing my kind of game," said Dillon smiling. "I like the extended three-point line and the (trapezoidal) lane. I felt good out there, but we definitely have some adjustments to make."
UA head coach Lute Olson agreed.
"I thought our best player today was Daniel Dillon," he said. "He did a great job with pressure. He shot it well and he took the shots he should. Daniel had the kind of game we need."
Tangara, a 6-foot-9 forward from Bamako, Mali, chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds to lead the Wildcat frontline. All told, the UA frontcourt was 17-of-39 from the floor.
"We had a lot of easy shots inside that just didn't go in," Olson said. "We didn't do a good job of finishing. We need to get a more solid performance out of the inside guys."
The Wildcats and Huskies traded baskets for the first 10 minutes of the second half before Arizona broke the game open for good with a 14-0 run over a six minute span. Bret Brielmaier's basket and free throw with 9:43 remaining gave Arizona a 57-37 lead.
Arizona connected on 56.3 percent of its field goal attempts (18-of-32) in the second half and limited Saskatchewan to 41.9 percent accuracy (13-of-31). At one point of the second period, Saskatchewan made just 2-of-20 field goal attempts.
UA started slowly in the first half with the veterans hitting just one of its first seven shots, and saw the game tied at four five minutes into the contest. The bright spot early on was Kirk Walters, who blocked three of Saskatchewan's first six field goal attempts.
Led by freshman Jordan Hill, the UA newcomers responded by outscoring the Huskies 11-6 in their five-minute allotment to give the Cats its first lead of the game on a Chase Budinger field goal with 14:11 to go in the half.
Nearly two minutes later, Hill ignited a 13-0 UA run over the next 4:31 that saw the lead extended to 19-10. Hill scored five points in the run, and nine of the 13 points were tallied by the Wildcat newcomers. He finished the game with nine points, six boards and a pair of blocked shots.
Tangara scored four points over the final 2:54 of the first half, including a put-back at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 33-24 lead at the break. Both teams struggled from the floor to open the game. Arizona outshot Saskatchewan 36.1-33.3 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
Playing with more energy than displayed in the morning session, the University of Arizona men's basketball team defeated the University of British Columbia, 73-59, Saturday night at War Memorial Gym.
On the heels of an erratic 15-point win this morning over the University of Saskatchewan, Arizona played with more focus from the start, quickly grabbed the lead an then methodically pushed it to double digits in what became a 14-point win over host UBC.
Sophomore forward Marcus Williams scored a game-high 19 points and added seven rebounds and three steals in the victory. The 6-foot-7 Seattle native spearheaded a balanced Wildcat attack that saw three players finish in double figures and all 10 players to see action in the game scored at least one bucket.
Williams effort Saturday evening was emblematic of the entire UA squad, which bounced back nicely from a sub-par effort in the day's first game. He connected on 8-of-15 field goal attempts against UBC after hitting just 3-of-11 attempts earlier in the day.
Williams claimed to be more assertive, saying, "This morning's game was ugly. I tried to be more of a leader tonight and get us off to a good start."
The Wildcats led by a point, 11-10, at the 14:10 mark of the first half when they went on a 19-9 run over the next seven minutes and never trailed again.
Arizona hit 17-of-38 (.447) shots in the first half, and limited UBC to 9-of-26 (.346) marksmanship. In addition, UA forced the Thunderbirds into 15 turnovers, which led to 14 Wildcat points in the opening stanza.
The second half was more of the same as Arizona pushed the lead to 20 points early on. A Mustafa Shakur basket at the 13:02 mark gave UA a 20-point lead. Four minutes later, David Bagga's trey gave the Wildcats its biggest lead of the night at 66-39.
From that point on Arizona got careless with the ball, committing more than a handful of turnovers and struggling from the free throw line. UA turned it over 21 times in the contest with 16 of those coming in the second half.
Hitting just 15-of-31 free throw attempts only compounded the problem.
"We did two things poorly tonight," said UA head coach Lute Olson. "We shot miserably from the free throw line and we turned it over way too many times. I thought defensively we did a really good job of forcing them to take tough shots and into a number of turnovers."
Junior guard Daniel Dillon had another strong performance Saturday, totaling 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting, to go with three rebounds.
"I'm more comfortable shooting the ball right now," Dillon explained. "I've got more freedom and I'm getting more minutes, so I'm doing what I can to help us win both offensively and defensively."
Arizona's five-game tour of Vancouver continues Sunday with two more games. The Wildcats play the Vancouver All-Stars at noon PDT and Simon Fraser University at 7 p.m. Both games will be played at SFU.