It wasn't pretty -- not at all. The Wildcats turned the ball over 20 times and only recorded 13 assists. The Dukes only had seven turnovers, and despite the Wildcats holding Duquesne to 35 percent shooting in the first half, the visiting team from the A-10 led 30-28 at the half.
But again, here came the hero; Jordin Mayes, who started for Josiah Turner for the first time this season, caught on fire in the second half and with the help of Jesse Perry's energetic rebounding and defense, the Wildcats, like Monday, bumped the lead into the double-digits before sloppily almost squandering the victory in the final minutes.
Random note: Apparently the official stats are questionable after some equipment went down. Don't rip me if you see them altered in a few hours or so. Unless you are heartless.
Perry finished with his second double-double in two games, this time with 11 points and 11 boards. Mayes led the team with 19 points, going 4-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc and being the key part of a 10-0 run that began with just six minutes remaining in the game and Arizona leading just 49-48. He hit a free throw and two 3-pointers in that span, and it was just enough of a cushion for the Wildcats to put away a pesky Duquesne squad.
As for my questions about the turnover problems of Turner, and also veteran Solomon Hill, well they weren't answered with much confidence. Turner had three assists and three turnovers with no points.
Hill had another sloppy game with ill decision-making. Still, he finished with seven points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. He got to the line 10 times -- Nick Johnson got there 10 times also -- and appears to be a lock for minutes no matter his four-turnover night.
That's because head coach Sean Miller has little choice. Starting center Kyryl Natyazhko saw only six minutes of playing time, and back-up Angelo Chol, despite his six points and seven rebounds, appears lost much of the time, on offense as well as defense.
It's back to the drawing board for Miller, who has four days to develop his team.
Things to improve:
- Kyle Fogg committed six turnovers on the evening, though his defense will keep him on the floor.
- Hill scored all seven of his points from the foul stripe, most of which came by way of Duquesne fouls late in the game. He went 0-for-3 from the field.
- Arizona only shot 43 percent for the game, and Mayes appears to be the only true threat as a jump-shooter. Like, really, nobody else can shoot from 15-feet out. Something tells me that's much to do with the low assist numbers, lack of open passing lanes and lack of open shots.
Things to like:
- Arizona might have its starting point guard in Mayes, who had two turnovers in 27 minutes.
- Jesse Perry is a warrior. He doesn't have the athleticism to be great, but at one point he forced two fouls by being the only Wildcats trying to get the offensive rebound. If anything, he's the most determined player on this team.
- Duquesne is likely a step above Valpo from Monday, and the Wildcats won the same way; they took punches from a scrappy, small team in the first half and play three to four good minutes to get themselves a victory. Here's to guessing they'll need to learn to fight like that day in, day out -- it's not like this years team will rely upon talent to win.