A new look: Arizona men's basketball team defeats Western Oregon by 30 points

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Nathanial Stenchever | The Daily Wildcat

Oumar Ballo, center on the Arizona men's basketball team, dunks on Thursday, Feb. 17, in McKale Center. The Wildcats would win the game 83-69 against Oregon State University.

The Arizona men's basketball team's first test of the season came against Western Oregon University in the team's only exhibition game. The story of tonight's game was Arizona physically imposing their will against a smaller Wolves team and the emergence of senior transfers Courtney Ramey and Cedric Henderson Jr. as the Wildcats were victorious, 91-61.

Despite the 30-point win, head coach Tommy Lloyd understands there were plenty of teaching points that come away from exhibition games. 

"You really never know how they [exhibition games] will play out; you can't script it. We got off to a good start, and then we hit a little bit of a lull at the end of the first half that carried on to the second, and then we fixed it," Lloyd said. "I love adversity and struggle. They are great teaching points."

Courtney Ramey had an impressive Arizona debut despite only logging 22 minutes of action. The fifth-year senior showed his unique skill sets, active on both ends of the floor. Ramey showcased his ability to penetrate a defense, leading to many open looks at the rim for the Wildcat's bigs. He was also active in the passing lanes, finishing with three steals. 

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Henderson had instant production off the bench. His experience playing college basketball before Arizona was evident as his efficiency from the field led to a 5 for 9 shooting night. With his leadership, the senior felt coming off the bench was beneficial for the entirety of the team. 

“Instead of going with a young guy, going with me is a more comparable decision sometimes," Henderson said. "I give it 100 percent at all times, diving on the floor, talking defensively and running the court."

Sophomore Adama Bal found the bottom of the net for 15 points, doing so in an unusual manner, getting to the line 11 times and converting 10 of those attempts. 

Bal was attacking the rim all night, looking a lot more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball, mentioning this was an area he and Lloyd have been working on throughout the off-season.

"Tommy and I have discussed a lot about this. I need to play more physical and aggressive, and that's what I was trying to do. I'm still working and getting better at it," Bal said. 

From France, the guard will continue to grow throughout the season and see an increase in minutes from 4.5 per game a season ago. 

The Wildcats will be back on the floor next Monday, November 7, in McKale Center for the regular season opener against Nicholls State University.


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