Before the season, Allonzo Trier and Deandre Ayton were named one of the top duos in college basketball.
They showed why Sunday.
Trier scored 22 points and Ayton posted his second double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds as the No. 3 Arizona Wildcats routed Chico State 91-53 in McKale Center.
Trier was 7-9 from the field, including 3-4 from 3, and didn’t miss his first shot until his 3 rimmed out with 6:08 left in the second half.
Ayton was 6-9 from the field after going 13-16 on Wednesday. He sank his only 3-point attempt and all eight of his free throws.
Returning Parker Jackson-Cartwright from an ankle injury, Arizona’s offense was a well-oiled machine.
Jackson-Cartwright had 14 points (4-4 FG, 2-2 3) and four assists, orchestrating a UA offense that shot 65 percent from the field, 7-13 from 3, and 20-27 from the charity stripe.
“Parker does a good job setting the tone for us,” Trier said.
The Wildcats had 21 assists to 10 turnovers, moving the ball well as a unit. Ayton displayed good vision and patience, picking apart double teams to finish with three assists.
“They elected to post trap him and he looked like a 10-year NBA player,” Sean Miller said. “How seasoned, how poised he was at handling the double team, just making the simple play, making a quick pass to the first open man, even if his pass didn’t lead to the shot directly it led to the ball moving around and probably creating five or six just great shots for our team.”
Miller said it’s that type of intelligence that sets Ayton apart as a prospect.
“They were doubling and I saw it coming from a mile away,” Ayton said.
Emmanuel Akot, who got the start for the injured Brandon Randolph and Rawle Alkins, finished with six points and six assists. Early in the second half, the freshman wrapped a pass to Ayton around a defender which led to an easy slam for the big man, putting Arizona up 50-29.
Akot missed both of his 3-point attempts, but did hit a couple mid-range jumpers off the dribble. He was 3-8 from the field.
Miller said after Wednesday’s exhibition that he would like to see Akot improve as a rebounder, and he did just that, tracking down seven boards.
“He’s capable and he has to give our team that element,” Miller said. “Without Rawle, we don’t really have that big small forward that we’ve had. Emmanuel can do a lot of different things, but anytime he gets a defensive rebound, he can push it and he makes good decisions.”
Arizona limited Chico State to a 36.1 field-goal percentage and outrebounded the visitors 39-22. After allowing 17 offensive rebounds Wednesday, Arizona limited Chico State to nine Sunday. If there’s one weakness this Arizona team has shown so far, that’s it.
“I thought we did a good job playing defense without reaching and fouling,” Miller said. “Which, in the month of November, isn’t easy to do, especially on our side with such a young group. We had some breakdowns, but those are all things that we want to look at and improve on from today until Friday."
Ira Lee was marred by early foul trouble, finishing with four points and six rebounds in 19 minutes.
Keanu Pinder finished with six points, benefitting from well-placed feeds by Trier, Jackson-Cartwright, and Ayton.
Arizona led by as many as 41 points.
The Wildcats opened the game on a 13-0 run, thanks to five early points and two assists by Trier. The junior had 12 first-half points on just three shots, along with three assists.
Arizona led 46-29 at the break, shooting 15-22 (68%) from the field, 4-6 (67%) from 3 (67%), and 12-17 (71%) from the free throw line.
The Wildcats were without Randolph (concussion), Alkins (foot), and Dylan Smith (suspension).
Arizona is back in action Friday when it will open the regular season against Northern Arizona.
Tip off in McKale Center is scheduled for 6 p.m. MST.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire