Deandre Ayton landed awkwardly after one of his countless slam dunks Wednesday in the second half of the Arizona Wildcats’ 91-63 exhibition victory over Eastern New Mexico.
Favoring his leg, the big man gingerly hobbled over to the sideline, grabbed a towel, draped it over his shoulders, took a seat on the bench, and guzzled a yellow Powerade.
Ayton wouldn’t return to the game, but luckily for Arizona, the injury was nothing serious.
“He was cramping,” head coach Sean Miller said afterward. “Deandre is learning the difference between high school and college. We probably had a shootaround today that he’s never done. And then he played 24 minutes, but it probably felt like 40 for him.
“We’re still in early November but learning how to drink water, how to hydrate, the importance of diet, those are all things that freshmen usually learn in November and he probably learned a little tonight.”
Ayton had 31 points and 10 rebounds on 13-16 shooting, taking advantage of an undersized ENMU frontcourt before exiting the game with 7:15 left in the second half.
“If he took 20 shots, he probably would have made 17,” Miller said.
Ayton likely could have returned and played closer to 30 minutes if needed, but that wasn’t necessary in this game vs. a Division II foe.
Soon it will be, though.
“If you think about a couple weeks when we go to the Bahamas, the climate, playing three games in three days, him playing more than 24 minutes, that’s something he’ll be ready for,” Miller said. “But I think he learned some things tonight.”
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire