Following an unusually long nine-day layoff, Arizona reminded everyone at the McKale Center why it is a top 10 team and the pre-season pick to win the Pac-12 conference. Sean Millerís squad used a balanced offensive attack and unselfish ball distribution to overwhelm Northern Arizona defenders in a resounding 93-50 win.
Nick Johnson was the captain of the blitzkrieg, as he accounted for seven of the teamís 22 assists and scored 10 points. The sophomore looked so comfortable with the ball in his hands that Miller admitted after the game, ďSometimes you canít really tell who is the point guard.Ē
With Mark Lyons still adjusting to running the team, Johnsonís awareness and court vision were particularly useful Wednesday night. In one case, Lyons even felt the need to apologize to Johnson for not converting on a fast-break.
Nonetheless, Lyons finished with a team-high 18 points including three makes from deep. The senior transfer had a terrific week of practice and should better adjust to point guard as the season goes on.
The duo of Lyons and Johnson may get overlooked by the towering freshmen big men but when the two are on the same page, the results include a 2.75 assist-turnover ratio.
Speaking of those freshmen, they served as more or less of a decoy against a Northern Arizona team that was expected the ball to be consistently fed to the paint. Frightened by the idea of Kaleb Tarczewski or Brandon Ashley tormenting on the low block, Arizonaís perimeter shooters went 11-18 from deep to open up the lead.
Solomon Hill connected on three of four from beyond the arc and Kevin Parrom continued his hot shooting stretch, knocking down two treys before finally missing one after a streak of seven consecutive. Gabe York, Jordin Mayes, and even walk-on Max Wiepking got into the outside shooting action as well.
Tarczewski, Ashley, and fellow McDonald's All-American Grant Jerrett all had quiet statistical performances by their standards but sophomore forward Angelo Chol cracked double-digits for the first time in his career, scoring 10 points to go with four rebounds including a put-back slam.
Arizona has still yet to prove itself against a premier opponent but Miller, never easily pleased, could come up with few complaints. ďWeíre not problem free but everybody has to sacrifice to do some special things and Iím proud of our chemistry to this point,Ē said Miller.