Arizona blows out Chico State in final exhibition game

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Heather Newberry | The Daily Wildcat Arizona forward Ira Lee keeps the ball away from Chico State defense on Nov. 5 in McKale Center.

Deandre Ayton and Allonzo Trier showcased their skills in another dominating performance by the Arizona Men's basketball team against Chico State during the final exhibition game Sunday Nov. 5th at the McKale Center. 

Arizona looked much more efficient on offense as they blew out the Chico State Wildcats 91-53. The Arizona Wildcats shot 65 percent from inside and 54 percent from behind the arch. They held Chico State scoreless for the first five minutes of the game and never looked back. 

Arizona was much more physical and dominate in every part of the game than their opponents. Arizona got to the free throw line 27 times in comparison to Chico State’s five times. They had 21 assists and only 10 turnovers and also did a better job rebounding, as they out-rebounded Chico State 39 to 22. 

“Our team improved a great deal from our first exhibition game,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said in the post game press conference. “We settled in and offensively that was as efficient as we have been.”  

Trier started the game off hot, hitting a tough lay up and a deep contested three. He handled the ball well throughout the game and had a nice pick and roll combination with Deandre Ayton. Trier hit all of his shots until late in the second half and finished with 22 points and four assists. Trier looks to be one of the Wildcats main scoring options as he averaged 17 points per game last year and was announced as a ESPN preseason All-American this year.

“I feel like I played ok,” Trier said, “I feel like I’m getting back into myself, I’m kinda a rhythm guy so the more I get back into it the better I’ll get.” 

Around the halfway mark in the first half Ayton confidently stepped up to the three-point-line and knocked down a three off of a pick and pop from Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Ayton looked calm, composed and calculated. For most of the night he drew a double team when he got the ball under the rim, but it didn’t seem to slow him down as he finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds on 6-for-9 shooting. Ayton creatively made use of his passing ability to create shots for his teammates when he was double teamed. 

“He looked like a 10-year NBA player with how seasoned and how poised he was at handling the double team, making a simple play or throwing a quick pass to the open man.” Miller said. “Even if his pass didn’t lead to a shot directly, it led to the ball moving around and created five or six shots for our team."

Miller said that Ayton’s intelligence is what sets him apart from other players. He clearly has talent, but his knowledge of what he is doing on the court makes the whole team better around him. 

Chico State played a zone defense through much of the game, but the Arizona Wildcats hardly seemed to notice. Miller said the reason Arizona handled the zone so well, and remained organized and confident, was because of how much he has focused on zone defense over the summer. 

“It was good for our guys to get tested there and play against the zone.” Miller said. 

Freshman Brandon Randolph missed the game after suffering a concussion Saturday in practice and may miss Friday’s opener against NAU. Miller said that the team would evaluate him during the week. Arizona was also without guard Dylan Smith (team violation) and forward Rawle Alkins. (foot)

Sean Miller put freshman Emmanuel Akot into the starting lineup in Brandon Randolph’s place. Akot continued to show off his defensive capabilities and had two quality back to back midrange shots in the first half. Miller also praised his rebounding and his ability to create plays for the rest of the team. Akot finished with six points, seven rebounds and six assists. Akot will be an invaluable asset to the team while Alkins remains out.  

Arizona opens the season at home against NAU on Friday at 6:00 p.m. 


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