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November 6, 2012

No. 12 Arizona rides balanced attack in exhibition finale

For at least a few hours, a paid attendance of 12,268 put their political differences aside Tuesday at McKale Center and took a break from webcasting Barack Obama's re-election as president of the United States.

Behind its trio of experienced seniors, No. 12-ranked Arizona completed a sweep of its two-game exhibition schedule with a 98-60 win over Division II Chico State.

Mark Lyons scored a game-high 20 points, Solomon Hill added an efficient 18 and Kevin Parrom chipped in 12 off the bench in a well-balanced victory. The team produced nearly identical shooting numbers in both halves and finished 30-of-56 (53.6 percent) from the floor.

"I thought we had a good team win tonight," head coach Sean Miller said.

Hill was not pleased with his performance the previous week against Humboldt State, but bounced back to record all but five of his points from the free-throw line.

The forward needed just two field goal attempts, connected on 13 of 14 free throws and added eight rebounds. Afterward, Hill and Parrom both pointed down at the box score in front of them, noticed the small number of shot attempts and Parrom said, "Wow, like Derrick."

"It was kind of a Derrick Williams-type feel out there," Hill explained. "D-Will gets started by shooting free throws. He'll have like five field goals and have 22 points."

This exhibition started much like the opener six nights ago, aside from the small fact Arizona briefly trailed in this one.

After Chico State converted its opening basket, Arizona went on a 12-0 run and forced four quick turnovers - including a shot-clock violation after one of two Nick Johnson blocks - with the help of sound rotations on defense.

After allowing Humboldt State to connect on 9 of 19 3-pointers last week, UA tightened up the perimeter defense and Chico State was just 2-of-20 in the opening half. The visitors finished 8-of-30 from long range.

"Not that we were perfect, but especially when we were locked in and doing things the right way, I thought we defended the 3 much better," Miller said.

Arizona led by as many as 25 in the half thanks to another adjustment at the free-throw line. After missing 13 of 32 attempts the previous game, the Wildcats finished the night 33-of-43 from the stripe.

All 10 UA players who saw action in the first 20 minutes found the scoring column, and the 'Cats took a 47-23 advantage into the locker room.

"We have the firepower," Miller said. "We have the depth to contribute to the season."

With less than 17 minutes to play, Chico State saddled freshman 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski with his fourth foul and cut the deficit under 20 on back-to-back possessions. But Arizona handed Chico State's leading scorer, Amir Carraway, his fourth with a little more than 11 minutes to play.

That all but sealed the victory for Arizona, which ballooned its lead to as many as 40 and cruised the rest of the way.

Carraway was Chico State's lone double-figure scorer and finished with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting. The rest of the team, however, connected on just 16 of 55 shots and ended with a 33.8 percent clip.

If there was one thing to nitpick, Miller said it was the team's inability to get more touches for Tarczewski - who was the highlight of the exhibition opener but shot the ball just four times on this night.

After an 18-point, 10-rebound performance the previous game, Tarczewski fouled out at the 7:24 mark and exited with seven points and zero rebounds.

"The rebounds is a little bit of a concern," Miller said. "There were probably times where he felt he could've got the ball. He's a great kid, he's not going to necessarily show it.

"I'm a former point guard, so I was always told, 'If you let that big guy keep running up and down the floor, rebounding, playing great defense, setting screens and he never catches it, that's not a very fun thing.'"

Regardless, Arizona owned a 40-16 advantage in the paint.

Arizona will open the regular season Sunday at McKale against Charleston Southern. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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