Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) - The 12th-ranked team in the nation gets its
2012-13 season off the ground this afternoon, as the Arizona Wildcats take on
the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern at the McKale Center in the first-ever
meeting between the two programs.
The Wildcats are coached by Sean Miller who is entering his fourth year with
the program and has already seen significant success in the desert with a
record of 69-35. Last year, Miller guided the team to a 12-6 mark in the
Pac-12, good enough for fourth place in the standings, and 23-12 overall.
In terms of season-opening success for the Wildcats over the years, in the
last 27 campaigns the team has a mark of 23-4. When opening at home, Arizona
Charleston Southern, a team which operates in the Big South Conference, is
coming off a season in which it posted a 19-12 record overall and was 11-7 in
league play. The squad actually already has one game under its belt for this
season, having lost to Charlotte on Friday in a 68-58 final at Halton Arena.
Charleston Southern opened the meeting with Charlotte on a 5-0 run two nights
ago in North Carolina, but the visitors ended up shooting a mere 8-of-34 from
the floor, including 5-of-20 behind the three-point line, in the first half.
Overall, the Bucs sank just 29.2 percent of their field goal tries in the
meeting and were 8-of-34 on the perimeter when they weren't turning the ball
over 17 times. Saah Nimley was responsible for a game-high 20 points, but he
connected on just 3-of-12 on the outside and 7-of-20 from the floor overall,
not to mention he was guilty of six miscues. Arlon Harper came off the bench
to contribute 12 points before fouling out which means the other four starters
combined to shoot only 6-of-26 and were responsible for just 15 points. On a
positive note, Mathiang Muo and Paul Gombwer did combine for 21 total
rebounds, 12 at the offensive end, but really that's just a result of the Bucs
shooting the ball so poorly to begin with.
These days having an experienced senior on a roster is a rarity, but the
Wildcats have one of those in Solomon Hill who is also an honorable mention
preseason AP All-American. Hill was second on the team in scoring last season
with 12.9 ppg and topped the team in rebounding with 7.7 per contest. More
surprisingly, Hill also led Arizona in assists (91) in his 35 starts. Granted,
he wasn't handing out huge numbers of assists, but the fact that he has that
capability makes him tougher to defend because he does keep his options open.
Another well-rounded performer is Nick Johnson who was responsible for 8.9 ppg
and 85 dishes as he started 28 games for the squad. However, Johnson could
stand to work on his shot selection because he made good on just 36.9 percent
from the floor. The addition of Xavier transfer Mark Lyons is huge for the
Wildcats because it instantly adds a 1,000-point scorer to the lineup and he
provides immediate leadership as someone who has already graduated from a
four-year program but still has eligibility remaining.
The Sports Network