The 2021 Arizona men's basketball Red-Blue game is in the books and fans returned to McKale Center for the first time in 574 days.
The Blue team defeated the Red team by a score of 53-39, led by Bennedict Mathurin's 16-points on a 6-12 performance from the field.
Returning players lead the way
Azuolas Tubelis also showed up in today's game, scoring 14-points on a perfect 7-7 shooting day from the field.
"The first thing was [Tubelis] is he's really talented, and he's really productive," head coach Tommy Lloyd said. "I just think for him to take the next steps as a player, he's got to increase his physicality, he's got to increase his concentration on defense and shooting for a big man kind of comes naturally."
Tubelis is coming off of a very productive freshmen season, where he averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per game.
It didn't stop with him because Christian Koloko totaled 10 points along with four blocks and four rebounds.
Koloko is entering his junior season, but still has an extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19. He averaged five points, five rebounds while adding 1.3 blocks per game in his sophomore season.
Dalen Terry is returning for his sophomore season and won the dunk contest after a spectacular performance.
New comers show out
Kim Aiken transferred to Arizona after playing three seasons at Eastern Washington. He is the reigning big sky conference defensive player of the year for the 2020-21 season.
He is a career 32% shooter from three-point land but was light's out in today's game, where he finished with 16-points on 4-4 shooting from there.
"I'm working out with one of the top people, and one of coach Lloyd's old guys [like] Corey Kispert before he took off to the DC for the Washington Wizards," Aiken said. "We just put a lot of hours into the gym when he was in Spokane [Washington], so I think the three point shooting is gonna be huge for the team this year."
Fans return to McKale
There were spectators in McKale for the first time in over a year and they brought tons of energy to the building.
"You didn't give us an opportunity to play in front of fans last year and I know here, they really have fans all year," Lloyd said. "So it's just fun for our guys to get in front of the people I think it's a team, they're really gonna like and hopefully they came away that this was a good first impression."
The Wildcats open their season against Eastern New Mexico University in an exhibition game on Nov. 1, in Tucson.
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