(Photo credit: Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports)
No. 3 Arizona's fast start has been highlighted by its balance and depth, and coach Tommy Lloyd is looking for more of the same on a short turnaround against University of Texas Arlington on Sunday in Tucson, Ariz.
The Wildcats (4-0) are averaging 99.3 points per game, which includes a 78-73 winat then-No. 2 Duke on Nov. 10. Arizona has scored at least 97 in its three other games, including twice reaching triple-digits.
The second time for that to happen was Friday night in a 100-68 rout of Belmont. Caleb Love and Motiejus Krivas each scored 20 points, the first time this season that an Arizona player hit the 20-point milestone.
There's that balance and depth.
"We're playing a lot of guys right now," Lloyd said.
"We have guys who are capable of scoring 20; no doubt in my mind about that. We have multiple guys who have scored 20 in games, so we'll see how that plays out over the over the course of the year.
"But I think our strength is going to be in numbers and depth, and hopefully our guys really buy into that and stay consistent with that over the course of the season."
Six Arizona players are averaging at least 11 points per game, led by Keshad Johnson (14.0). Kylan Boswell (13.5) is next, followed by Love (13.0), Krivas (12.5), Oumar Ballo (11.8) and Pelle Larsson (11.0). All but Krivas are starters.
UT Arlington (2-1) opened with home victories over Oral Roberts and UT Tyler before suffering an 82-80 loss at New Mexico on Thursday night.
The Mavericks trailed by 10 with just over five minutes left before rallying to tie the game at 80 on Makaih Williams' 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left. But the Lobos won it when Donovan Dent drove for a layup just before the final horn.
"We had a chance at the end of the game, but we made so many mistakes throughout the night," said UTA coach KT Turner.
"We had four technical fouls, which is just absolutely unacceptable, and those came back to cost us. New Mexico is a good team, but we've got to get better. We're going to fight until the end no matter what the score is; that's just our DNA."
Shemar Wilson, a senior, had 29 points against the Lobos, but he was ejected from the game with 2:20 left when he picked up his second technical foul. The 6-foot-9 forward will battle the big front line of Arizona that features 7-footers Ballo and Krivas at center.
The Wildcats are outrebounding opponents 50.0 to 26.5 per game, which includes a 45-33 edge against Duke. Arizona outrebounded Belmont by 30.
For the Mavericks, Wilson is averaging 15.3 points and 11.7 rebounds through three games. Guard DaJuan Gordon, who has played at Kansas State, Missouri and New Mexico State, is averaging 17.0 points and 13.0 boards.
"I'm excited," Lloyd said after beating Belmont.
"I can't wait to get back on the court with these guys tomorrow. We got to a UTA team that looks like they're playing spirited with a lot of energy and really battled New Mexico on the road. We got a one-day prep and we really haven't done anything to prepare for them."
--Field Level Media