FINAL: No. 12 Arizona 98, Chico State 60
Larry Hogan / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Unlike last season, Arizona made it through its preseason without a scratch after defeating California State University, Chico 98-60 Tuesday night in front of 12,268 fans at the McKale Center.
Chico State’s forward Amir Carraway drew first blood against No. 12 Arizona with an opening jumper, but from there on it was all the home team as the UA never again trailed.
Seniors Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons led the charge for the UA, which lead by as much as 40 in the second half. Hill had 18 points, with a majority coming from the free throw line, and a team-high eight rebounds. Hill hit his first 12 free throws before finishing the game 13-for-14 from the line and was a perfect 2-for-2 from the field.
Lyons led the team in scoring with 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting, but was at times careless with the ball and finished with four turnovers against three assists.
While Arizona was efficient on offense (shooting 30-for-56 in the game), where it really excelled was on the defensive end. Chico State shot 22-for-65 from the field, and in stark contrast to the UA’s other exhibition game against Humboldt State, CSUC was held in check from three. Chico State was under 25 percent from beyond the arc, making just 8-of-34 shots on the night.
Depth is one of the UA’s greatest strengths this season, and it showed Tuesday night as all 10 of Arizona’s regular players scored by the end of the first half and the bench had 35 points on the night.
After falling down 21-11, Chico State was never able to take the game back into single digits. Carraway led CSUC on a little run after halftime, scoring 11 of first team’s 13 points, but Arizona matched the offensive output and the game never was in doubt.
While Chico State is part of the Division-II California Collegiate Athletic Association, it isn’t necessairly a pushover. CSUC narrowly lost its first exhibition game 66-60 to Division-I Pacific and Chico State was projected to win its conference in the CCAA preseason poll.
But Tuesday night they were no match for the superior Arizona team. The UA outrebounded Chico State 43-34 in the game and controlled the paint with 40 points inside. Arizona also had five blocks and six steals but also made some careless turnovers with 12 in the game.
Arizona’s bigs got into some foul trouble as well, with both centers Angelo Chol and Kaleb Tarczewski fouling out of the game. But with the strong defensive performance and the UA’s ability to get to the line (Arizona shot 33-for-43 on free throws), the final exhibition was more than comfortable for Arizona.
Arizona tips off the regular season on Nov. 11 at home against Charleston Southern.