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Unselfish play gets Arizona going after slow start in exhibition victory (VIDEO)

Sean Miller, Brandon Ashley

Arizona head coach Sean Miller, right, laughs as he speaks next to forward Brandon Ashley during NCAA college basketball Pac-12 media day in San Francisco, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


Like Kentucky, Arizona enters the 2014-15 season with high expectations and the desire to write a better ending to their story than they did a season ago. Sean Miller’s Wildcats put together a very successful 2013-14 season, winning 33 games and reaching the Elite Eight, and that was with their losing starter Brandon Ashley to a foot injury in early February. And despite losing starters Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon from that team, their goal remains the same: win a national title.

Sunday evening’s exhibition game against Cal Poly Pomona, which lost at Stanford by just three points a few days ago, represented the first time Arizona’s played a game against outside competition since their Elite Eight loss to Wisconsin. And it took some time for the Wildcats to find their groove against Cal Poly Pomona, as they struggled with the Broncos’ matchup zone defense.

Arizona was able to turn things around during the latter stages of the first half, and in the second half the Wildcats shot 61.5% from the field on their way to a 67-51 victory. Five Wildcats scored in double figures with three (Stanley Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York) scoring 12 points apiece and point guard T.J. McConnell dished out 11 assists. As a team Arizona assisted on 23 of their 26 made field goals, which works out to an assist percentage of 88.5%.

Obviously the numbers don’t count towards official statistics, but last season Arizona assisted on at least 70 percent of their made baskets in two games (both wins): Duke, and Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament. Above are some highlights from Arizona’s exhibition victory courtesy of Arizona Athletics. The defending Pac-12 regular season champions open their season Friday night against Mount St. Mary’s.

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