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Arizona basketball: Wildcats host Sacred Heart Pioneers on Friday

The first of the “Las Vegas Invitational” games

CSU Bakersfield v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Invitational technically gets started for the Arizona Wildcats on Friday evening when the Sacred Heart Pioneers travel to Tucson and McKale Center.

This is the first of two “opening games” of the tournament for Arizona. Northern Colorado will be in McKale on Monday.

Here’s how you can catch the first of these games though against SHU.




Pac-12 Networks

Streaming and the Pac-12 Now app for iOS and Android


Daron Sutton and Steve Lavin

This will actually be the first time that Arizona has ever played Sacred Heart, and the first time Sean Miller has ever coached against the school. The Pioneers have not played a Pac-12 team since 2004. That turned out to be a 114-53 loss to Washington.

Sacred Heart is 1-1 so far this season after being picked to finish 8th in the Northeast Conference. They dropped their first game 85-63 at Fairfield, but took their home opener 90-86 over Hofstra. The Pioneers were actually down nine with just over four minutes left in that game, but held the Pride to just one field goal from that point on. Quincy McKnight scored the last 14 points of the game (28 total) for Sacred Heart, and is averaging 26.5 points per game so far this year.

With the exception of 6-foot-11 redshirt senior Cole Walton, SHU does not have a single player listed as taller than 6-foot-8. Their best rebounder is Joseph Lopez, who is pulling down 10.5 boards per game to go with his average of 11 points. At 6-foot-7, Lopez is surely about to get his biggest test of the year, going up against three seven-footers on Arizona’s roster.

Besides Lopez and McKnight, the only other Sacred Heart player averaging double figures is Matej Buovac. He actually didn’t play in the opener, but came off the bench against Hofstra to score 14 points, going 3-for-7 from three in 25 minutes. It wouldn’t be a huge shock to see the 6-foot-7 Croatian get the start against a big Arizona team.

After this game, Sacred Heart plays at Santa Clara on Monday before going to Las Vegas to face Northern Colorado on Thanksgiving.