Arizona was able to defeat UTEP on Thursday night. Read on for a more complete look at how the Wildcats were able to get it done.
moved to 2-0 on the season with a convincing 72-51 victory over the UTEP
Miners on Thursday night. The Wildcats received a battle for the first 32 minutes of the contest from a scrappy UTEP bunch, but even with the Miners doing whatever they could to hang close, the game was never really in doubt and Arizona pulled away down the stretch.
It was a sloppy showing from the Wildcats on both ends of the floor, but the mismatch in talent proved to be too big of an advantage in UA's favor. Senior leadership led the way again in the victory as Arizona won its second game in a row to start the 2012-13 campaign.
Mark Lyons had another strong outing for the Wildcats. Lyons pushed the tempo often and controlled the flow of UA's offense. The senior concluded the game with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including 3-for-6 from outside the three-point line.
He only dished out one assist but Lyons' assertiveness, efficiency and aggressiveness provide Arizona with a player at the point guard position that it hasn't had in the Sean Miller era. His four turnovers are a sign he is still adjusting, but he has been nothing but a positive influence on the Wildcats thus far.
Solomon Hill had a nice overall outing, finishing with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists in the winning effort. Hill contributed in the same all-around fashion he has become known for during his tenure in college. Whether it be scoring, rebounding, distributing or playing defense, Hill did a little of everything.
The one area where Hill seemed to struggle Thursday was holding on to the ball. He finished the game with three turnovers, but those miscues weren't enough to take away his otherwise strong game.
The Wildcats played solid defense for much of the contest, preventing UTEP from getting too many open looks at the basket. Arizona held the Miners to 36.4 percent shooting for the game and UTEP didn't get many second-chance opportunities, grabbing only five offensive rebounds on the night.
The rebounding battle was dominated by Arizona. The Wildcats controlled the boards so well that they out-rebounded the Miners 35-15. Freshman Grant Jerrett led UA with seven rebounds, followed by Hill and fellow freshman Kaleb Tarczweski, who grabbed six apiece.
Outside shooting continues to be impressive for Arizona. The Wildcats finished 9-for-18 from beyond the arc, doing the majority of their damage in the first half. UA connected on eight of its 13 attempts from long range in the first 20 minutes of play and the efficiency from three-point range is one of the primary reasons UA took control of the contest early.
Free throw shooting was another efficient area for Arizona on Thursday. The Wildcats shot 82.6 percent (19-for-23) from the charity stripe and appear to be a notch above where they were a season ago at the free throw line.
Despite the victory, it was a sloppy performance by Arizona at times. The Wildcats committed 19 turnovers and allowed UTEP to hang around for much of the contest because of their inability to take care of possessions.
It's no coincidence that UA only coughed up the ball once in the final eight minutes of the game while simultaneously extending its lead. If the Wildcats can learn how to avoid committing so many turnovers, they will be a very tough squad to beat going forward.