Rim Shots: Post-game notebook from Arizona's exhibition win
Key notations and observations from the Wildcats' final dress rehearsal Tuesday night — a 96-55 exhibition win against Western New Mexico:
Player of the game: Nic Wise looked considerably sharper. Coming off an ankle injury that suppressed his playing time last exhibition, Wise made the cuts, fast breaks and showed veteran vision running the offense. Beyond the arc, Wise shot 5-for-6 and finished with 21 points. He's also a leader:
""My job is to be the coach on the floor and at halftime to get in the guys and make sure they're not getting too loose,"" Wise said.
When it was over: Wise nailed a 3-pointer to make it 63-30 with 15:58 remaining.
Most improved: Transition defense. Arizona gave up some easy baskets to an up-tempo Augustana College last exhibition. After the game, UA coach Sean Miller said his young team needs to get from Point A to Point B and not get caught up in a big dunk or basket. It's just part of the maturation process.
Room for on-court improvement: Solomon Hill. The freshman committed twice as many fouls (4) as points (2) in 18 minutes of play.
Room for off-court improvement: The Zona Zoo. With no classes tomorrow, what kept students from showing up? Sure was an exhibition, but still, the game was over by 9 p.m.
A shade of confidence: Brendon Lavender got the start and finished with 11 points in a team-high 25 minutes. Lavender looked poised from beyond the arc despite shooting only 3-for-9. If Miller chooses to use a deep bench — which he already said he will — expect the sophomore to get a chance to prove he was a 4-star recruit after a disappointing freshman year.
""Brendon to me has been the most pleasant surprise to our staff. He made a few threes tonight, but really he has shot the ball better in practice,"" Miller said. ""He's our team's best shooter every day. There's a real place for him.""
A shade of consistency: Jamelle Horne crashed the boards yet again, proving to be the most athletic Wildcat on the floor. Horne finished with 15 points and a team-high 9 rebounds after two previous seasons as the program's ""wildcard.""
Key stat: Arizona dished out 30 assists on 37 field goals.
The vaccine: After missing about a third of the preseason with the flu, Kyle Fogg returned Tuesday and played some considerable time. Fogg (9 points in 19 minutes) might be a bit behind schedule in terms of preseason progression, but then again, the sophomore has always been late bloomer.
A victory cigar: Miller used all 15 guys, including every walk-on, in the blowout win. With less than two minutes remaining, freshmen Ross Davidson and Max Wiepking checked in and brought wide smiles across the Arizona bench — a David Bagga-esque moment. It's certainly a drastic difference from ex-UA coach Russ Pennell's seven-man bench last season.
""I really believe strongly in using the bench,"" Miller said. ""I think it protects you when injuries happen. It allows you to play intensely on defense. Sometimes just a quick two or three minutes really allows that player to return back into the game. As you talk about playing with the fast tempo, a lot of movement and man to man defense, guys need a rest.""
Wow factor: Wise threw an assist between his legs to Jamelle Horne, who threw down a monster dunk to ignite the crowd. ""Nic has earned the right to be creative,"" Miller said.
Quote of the night: ""It kinda sucked, I really couldn't go to the game (and) had to watch it on the Internet. My Internet was really slow too."" — Fogg on being absent from the team with the flu.
Nic Wise: ""My ankle is still not fully strengthen at times.""
Kevin Parrom: Mid-foot sprain. ""I hope that's all it is,"" Miller said.
What's up next: The real thing. Arizona hosts NAU on Sunday at 3 p.m.