Arizona defeats UMBC 103-78 in offensive fashion during second game of the season
Allonzo Trier shoots a step-back jumper past a UMBC defender. Trier recorded 30 points in the game, splitting evenly with 15 in each half.
It was all offense for Arizona men’s basketball as they defeated the UMBC Retrievers 103-78 in the Wildcats second game of the season Sunday at the McKale Center. The win moves Arizona to 2-0 on the season.
Allonzo Trier followed his personal best 32-point performance against NAU with another 30-point performance against the Retrievers. He shot 10-for-18 overall and hit five 3-pointers as he lead the Wildcats efficient offense. Trier finished with 30 points, four rebounds and two assists. It was the first back-to-back 30-point performance since Jarryd Bayless in 2007-08.
Deandre Ayton also had a strong night, posting another double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds on an efficient 9-for-13 shooting. Ayton sparked the crowd twice with a massive dunk over an opposing player off an alley-oop and then a high flying one-handed put back slam that brought everyone in McKale to their feet.
“I was just running the other way with my mouth hanging open,” senior point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright said.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller said that he thinks Trier and Ayton may be able to maintain their performances for the remainder of the season. He said some of the credit goes to their teammates, as their talent, depth and skill open the game up for them to have games like they have had so far.
However, Trier and Ayton weren't the only ones to have a big night. UMBC guard Jairus Lyles 31 points kept the Retrievers within range for most of the game. Arizona could not find an answer for him defensively, especially in the first half, where he had 23 points. Lyles seemed to hit everything he put up, even banking in a deep 3-pointer as he fell to the ground.
Overall Arizona looked brilliant offensively, shooting 61 percent from the floor and 54 percent from deep. However, despite shooting lights out, the Wildcats didn’t look very sharp defensively until the last 10 minutes of the game.
Initially, UMBC gave the Wildcats the first punch and shot a perfect 4-for-4 while taking a 8-5 lead less than three minutes into the game. Sean Miller called timeout, the Wildcats clamped down on defense and changed the atmosphere in McKale with a 14-0 run. But Arizona’s run wasn’t enough, as the stubborn Retrievers shot their way back into the game, coming within five points with just over 15 minutes left in the second half.
“They were terrific, I mean, they had a couple go in... it was one of those nights I think,” Miller said. “It was a really good game for our team to learn and grow. If you watch us, our gift this year is as much on offense as it is on defense, but it's up to us to work on a few things that we can control better defensively.”
Arizona eventually settled down defensively and blew the game open, holding the Retrievers to 31 points in the second half.
Miller put UNC-Asheville transfer Dylan Smith into his first game as a Wildcat after sitting out for the season opener due to a team violation. Smith quickly hit two 3-pointers in the first half and had two blocks in 14 minutes of play.
Brandon Randolph also returned from a concussion but only played four minutes in the game. He scored five points on perfect 2-for-2 shooting. Miller said that he intentionally kept his minutes down because of his concussion and lack of practice time.
Speaking about Arizona’s depth, Miller said that guys will have to sacrifice on minutes this season for the team to be successful. Arizona had three more players available after Smith (team violation), Randolph (concussion) and Keanu Pinder (NCAA violation) returned. Arizona now has 11 scholarship players available while Rawle Alkins (foot) remains out.
Arizona plays Cal State Bakersfield at 8:00 pm on Thursday at the McKale Center.
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