Arizona snuffs Long Beach State, gets set for Wooden Legacy
The Wildcats erased all doubts with an explosive 66-point second half to rout Long Beach State on Sunday in Tucson, 104-67. Eleven Wildcats scored, including walk on Matt Weyand, who calmly stepped into a 3-Pointer in the waning moments to cap a half where Arizona shot 65 percent from the floor.
Nico Mannion had career highs in points and assist. The freshman point guard scored 22 points, dished out eight assists, and committed a single turnover in arguably his best game of the season. Zeke Nnaji added 21 points and five rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting. Josh Green and Jemarl Baker added 11 points each, while Max Hazzard had his best outing as a Wildcat with a season high 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc.
Defensively, Arizona (6-0) scored 31 points off of turnovers, while holding Long Beach State to 40.7 percent shooting.
Michael Carter III led Long Beach State with 11 points, while Joshua Morgan and Max De Geest scored 10 points apiece.
The win was a nice answer following a 71-64 victory over South Dakota State last week. Following the win over the Jackrabbits, Sean Miller used most of the press conference to publicly scold his players for taking ill-advised shots, early in the shot clock, adding that poor decisions on offense usually lead to poor decisions on defense.
On Sunday, outside of a few hiccups, the Wildcats seemed to return to team basketball, making the extra pass to get clean looks at the rim, inside and from deep. Arizona made 12-of-24 treys, but also attempted 40 tries from inside the arc. The inside-out scoring efficiency made the Wildcats almost impossible to defend, despite a mix of man-to-man half court pressure and a 2-2-1 zone press from the visitors.
Arizona had 26 assists on 37 field goal makes, led by Mannion and Baker combining for half of the team’s dishes.
Arizona travels to Anaheim, California for this week’s Wooden Legacy. Arizona will play Pepperdine in the opening round on Thanksgiving. Tip time is scheduled for 8 p.m. PST. The game will be aired on ESPN 2. On Arizona’s side of the bracket is University of Pennsylvania and University of Central Florida. If the Wildcats advance to the finals on Sunday, they will face one of four teams: Providence, Long Beach State, Wake Forest, or College of Charleston. Win or lose, every competing team is guaranteed three games.