Arizona defeats Charleston Southern 82-73
Mark Lyons leads the way with 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting
Expectations are high for the Arizona basketball team this season, but on Sunday Charleston Southern made it known that the Wildcats are still a work in progress. Arizona defeated the Buccaneers by a score of 82-73 in in front of 14,503 fans at McKale Center.
“It was a hard fought win and that was a dangerous team we played,” head coach Sean Miller said.
Five Wildcats scored in double digits, led by Mark Lyons with 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting, and Arizona outscored Charleston Southern 39-34 in the second half after trailing for the majority of the first.
Solomon Hill added 14 points, with four three-pointers, five rebounds and two assists and sophomore Nick Johnson added 12 and six assists. Brandon Ashley and Jordin Mayes were the others in double figures, scoring 12 and 10, respectively.
Arizona shot 27-of-60 from the field and attempted 32 3-pointers, hitting 11 of them. Despite the Wildcats size advantage over CSU — Arizona has four players ranging from 6-foot-8 to 7-feet, while the Buccaneers’ tallest player is 6-foot-9 — the UA was outrebounded 34-31.
Lyons struggled in the first half, going 0-for-3 with two points, but stepped it up in the second. He was 5-of-11 from the field in the second half and finished the game with 17 points and six assists.
After trading baskets for a good four minutes toward the end of the game, a Kevin Parrom converted and-one with 3:25 remaining gave the Wildcats what was then their largest lead at 75-66.
The three-point play was Parrom’s first points of the game, as he shot 2-of-5, and 1-of-4 from three, for the night although he did add five rebounds and five assists to his six points in 20 minutes off the bench.
Parrom’s and-one added to an 8-0 run with a three-pointer and a Lyons layup, putting the Wildcats up 14 with 1:59 remaining.
The Buccaneers (0-2), considered favorites to win the Big South conference, put up a fight for most of the game and held a lead until 1:01 left in the first half when freshman forward Ashley scored eight of Arizona’s last 11 points to close the half and give the UA a four-point lead as they headed into the locker room.
Ashley scored most of his points from the foul line, converting on 8-of-12 free throws for 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
“Brandon really stepped up tonight,” Miller said. “Tonight was his night. When we went small we moved him to the five which he hasn’t played a whole lot but with his instincts, he made basketball plays.[Freshmen] Kaleb [Tarczewski] and Grant [Jerrett] are going to have a ton of games where they play great. Tonight wasn’t the night.”
Jerrett and Tarczewski, both starters, combined to shoot 3-of-9 for seven points and seven rebounds.
Mayes, the UA’s backup point guard, led the Wildcats with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and 2-of-2 from beyond the arc in the opening half, although he was held scoreless in six second-half minutes.
CSU opened the second half with two straight buckets, but two straight blocks — on the same play — led to a layup from Lyons on a fast break for his first field goal of the game with 17:27 left in the second half.
“It was tough for me at first,” said Lyons, a senior transfer from Xavier. “I’ve been there, I’ve done it my teammates picked me up.”