Arizona vs. Charlestown Southern: Wildcats win season opener 82-73

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

There was a lot to like and some things to improve on for the Wildcats.

The Arizona Wildcats picked up their first win of the season on Sunday evening, defeating Charlestown Southern by a score of 82-73. UA came out a bit sloppy and suffered from poor shot selection against the Big South's preseason champion, although the outcome was never really in question at any point in the second half.

Here are a few observations from McKale Center.

  • As a team, the Wildcats dished out 25 assists and only turned it over eight times. Mark Lyons had six assists and zero turnovers, and nine of the 10 players who came off the bench had at least one assist. That is a great sign.
  • Brandon Ashley had the best game of the freshmen. The 6'8 forward went for 12 points on just three shot attempts and led the team with eight rebounds. Ashley saw 24 minutes on the court, which was more than Grant Jerrett (20), Kaleb Tarczewski (16) and Gabe York (4).
  • Jordin Mayes came off the bench and provided UA with a huge spark when a lot of shots weren't falling. The junior guard scored 10 points in a five-minute span and really got things moving. Mayes will be a key member of this team, and he'll be a valuable asset when breaking a zone defense.
  • Solomon Hill did what he does best: fill the stat sheet. The senior wing had 14 points, five rebounds (three offensive) and two assists. He recorded a team-high 30 minutes on the floor and went 4-for-8 from behind the arc.
  • Arizona recorded seven blocks, most of which came right around the basket.
  • The Wildcats failed to utilize their post players all game long. Arizona attempted 32 threes, which is about 12 more than they really should most nights. Yes, Charlestown Southern ran a solid zone defense, but there were numerous out-of-rhythm shots from behind the arc that were not ideal.
  • Free throw shooting: 17-for-22, which is about 77%. That works.

All-in-all, it was a solid showing from the No. 11 'Cats. Was it a perfect performance? Absolutely not. This team has an incredibly high ceiling and it will take some time to get adjusted to five new players in the rotation. Until then, it's imperative Arizona continues to get after it in practice before the tougher portion of the schedule arrives.

The Wildcats will play UTEP on Thursday night at 8 p.m. MT.

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