The Arizona Wildcats started poorly once again on Sunday afternoon against the Ball State Cardinals, but the team used a big second half rally to propel them to their third win of the season.
The huge storyline of the game was the return of junior forward Kevin Parrom. Just two months removed from being shot in his left leg, Parrom surprisingly made his season debut after the first media timeout of the game. The crowd of 13,000 at the McKale Center roared as No. 3 checked in and his impact was felt immediately on the floor.
Parrom played 18 minutes and finished with six points, four rebounds and two assists. As always with Kevin, it was the little things he does that go unnoticed that make him such a valuable player; he drew a charge, played stellar defense throughout the game and was a vocal leader on the court. With just two days of practice under his belt, Sean Miller has to be very excited with the progression of Parrom.
Other than Parrom, Kyle Fogg and Solomon Hill stepped up for the Wildcats. Fogg led the team with 21 points and hit three 3-pointers, while Solomon Hill recorded his first double-double of the year with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
For Ball State, it was big man Jarrod Jones who carried the team. The all-conference selection scored 25 points and hauled in nine rebounds. The Cardinals were unstoppable from behind the arc in the first half, but they came back down to earth once the Wildcats dug in and started defending as a team.
Three quality mid-major opponents for Arizona, three wins. They weren't always pretty, but the team got the job done.
Miller and the coaching staff now have until Thursday to prepare their team for St John's in Madison Square Garden. Expect an emotional, hard fought battle between the two programs. It should be a great game.