No. 12 Wildcats seek more complete performance against Bradley
Arizona’s starters had an impressive showing in a season-opening win. The play of Sean Miller’s reserves was another story.
Miller hopes for a more complete performance from his 12th-ranked Wildcats when they host Bradley on Monday night.
Transfers Ryan Anderson, Kadeem Allen and Mark Tollefsen joined returning senior starters Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York and they displayed terrific chemistry Friday against Pacific. Anderson, who came from Boston College, had 18 points and 12 rebounds while Allen, the 2013-14 national JUCO player of the year, recorded 13 points and five assists in the Wildcats’ 79-61 victory.
The starters shot 20 of 36 and Arizona led by as much as 28, but when Miller turned to his reserves late in the game things began to fall apart and he had to put his starters back in.
The backups shot 4 of 25 and accounted for nine of the team’s 14 turnovers.
"I will never do that again; you will never see that group again in the next 37 games," Miller said. "We’ll inch it closer to the finish and we’ll learn every day in practice, but they’re not going to learn in a game like that because there’s too much at stake."
It was a particularly rough night for heralded freshman Allonzo Trier, who shot 1 of 10 and scored eight points.
Miller didn’t seem too concerned with Trier’s struggles, chalking it up to first-game jitters and believing things will improve with more playing time.
"He’s a young player and this was the first game of his career," Miller said. "I’m sure there’s going to be plenty of great games in his future."
Facing a Bradley team picked to finish 10th in the Missouri Valley Conference will likely lead to more playing time for Trier and the rest of the young Arizona players.
The Braves are coming off a sluggish showing in Friday’s season-opening 54-53 win over Ball State. Bradley shot 31.9 percent, going 5 of 20 from 3-point range and 59.4 percent from the foul line.
"It wasn’t pretty but a win’s a win," coach Brian Wardle said. "I tell them one point or 30 points you celebrate them. Wins are hard to come by at this level."
Bradley, which got 18 points from freshman Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye, might have trouble getting in gear offensively against an Arizona team that’s among the best in the country at the defensive end. The Wildcats, who allowed just 59.7 points per game last season, held Pacific to 36.8 percent shooting.
"We got to enjoy this victory but tomorrow’s a new day," Wardle said. "We got to start getting ready, we got to clean some things up and learn a lot from this game and hopefully we go out and just compete and be aggressive on Monday night when we play a great team at a tough place to play."
The McKale Center has been an extremely difficult place for visiting teams to win. The Wildcats have taken 39 straight there and 25 in a row against nonconference opponents.
The Braves haven’t won a road game against a ranked nonconference foe since defeating St. John’s in 1958. They’ve also lost 14 in a row to ranked teams since beating Northern Iowa in 2010.
These schools haven’t met since Arizona won in triple overtime in 1965.
- Allonzo Trier
- Arizona Wildcats
- Bradley Braves
- Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye
- FOX Sports Arizona
- FOX Sports Arizona - Arizona Wildcats
- Gabe York
- Kadeem Allen
- Kaleb Tarczewski
- Mark Tollefsen