It was not the start that people wanted to see from the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats. Arizona fell behind 19-12 to the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos early in the first half, but Sean Miller's crew closed the first half with a 14-0 run over the final 5:42 and never looked back, beating the Broncos 67-51.
The starting lineup was something that people had been wondering about, and Miller put Gabe York out there instead of Stanley Johnson to go with T.J. McConnell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski.
"You can't go by tonight's starting lineup," Miller said about if that's the look everyone should expect going forward. "That would be foolish. Stanley has an opportunity to start, no question. But we will rotate through that group of six every so often. Those six are a little further along than the rest of our team."
York made his presence felt after sinking a three pointer (Arizona's only one in the first half) to start the 14-0 run, which settled the entire team down.
"I think the momentum changed," York said afterwards. "I wouldn't say that it happened in just that one possession, but I think we just got comfortable knowing what to do against a matchup zone."
"Once he made one, I thought the weight of the world came off of him," Miller added. "He seemed to settle in and play better. But when you're coaching a team and you look out there and see them anxious, tentative, it makes the game hard. We had a hard time scoring for over twelve minutes...but I didn't ever get the sense early on that we had settled in on offense."
"It was almost like the last four minutes of the first half I was like 'okay, now we can really start to play'."
In the second half, everything starting clicking on the offensive end of the court. T.J. McConnell showed why some consider him to be the best point guard in the country. The senior from Pittsburgh ended up with 11 assists, seven rebounds, two points, and four turnovers.
Defensively, Arizona looked like their normal selves for the most part. Coach Miller was pleased that it took a three at the end of the game for Pomona to get to 51 points. The Broncos had scored in the 70s against Stanford.
The Wildcats start the regular season on Friday night against Mount St. Mary's. According to Sean Miller, the improvement from last week's closed scrimmage against Saint Mary's was enormous, so everyone should expect to see a much better, more relaxed Arizona team next week.