When I’d go to the movies as a child, they used to show a cartoon before the feature. That’s what this game felt like, the cartoon, with the feature being the Arizona game on Saturday. The Zags easily handled Mississippi Valley State University 97-63 in a game looking more like a session at the local Y. Lots of running, lots of 3s, lots of dunks, lots of turnovers with the GU bench calling next. Josh Perkins made a case for early draft entry by going 5 for 6 from 3 in the first half, a couple from about 25 feet. Zach Collins and Silas Melson both had two first half dunks each helping GU go into the locker room with a 49-28 halftime lead despite 9 GU turnovers.
The only question in the 2nd half is when would the bench clearing begin and when would Rui enter the game. It was about the 11:00 mark with Hachimura immediately announcing his presence by snagging a defensive rebound out of the air with one hand. Rui had 10 points including a steal followed by a jam then an impressive right-handed dunk while falling away to the left. Not content with Rui stealing all the 2nd half thunder, Silas Melson reverted to his senior season in high school by dominating MVSU on drives to the rim and hitting a 3. Despite both benches clearing and the frenetic pace, GU only had 4 second half turnovers outscoring MSVU by 13 in the half. Running out of new guys to serve as leading scorer, Perkins and Melson decided to share the honor tonight with 15 each.
The end of the game had me wondering about two players; Ryan Edwards and Jeremy Jones. Jordan Matthews and JWIII both received time in the waning minutes in place of Edwards and Jones. I’ve got to think Edwards has some sort of injury because the redshirt Jr. didn’t play at all. Few usually defers to upper classman, giving them the benefit of court time when the game is no longer in doubt. Maybe Jones ankle still isn’t 100% but he hasn’t seen the court this year.
GU travels to Los Angeles for Saturday’s game against a banged up Arizona team Two of Arizona’s players, Ray Smith and Talbott Denny are out with ACL tears, star guard Alonzo Trier hasn’t played all year, and point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright sprained his ankle last night against Texas Southern is not likely to play on Saturday. Arizona will be led by freshman and hindered with a very short bench. I could try and be altruistic and say I’m disappointed at not getting Arizona at their best, but I’d be lying. After the past two seasons I’m just hoping for a little revenge.