Inside game marks coming of age for Wildcats
The Arizona men's basketball players realized something Saturday afternoon in their 96-77 exhibition victory over Marathon Oil.
If they simply pass the ball inside, their post players can dominate a smaller team, thereby taking the scoring burden off senior point guard Jason Terry and the rest of the backcourt.
The Wildcats did just that and as a result senior A.J. Bramlett, junior Eugene Edgerson and freshman Michael Wright all had double-doubles, helping Arizona out-rebound Marathon Oil, 57-26.
"The inside guys are playing great. We got it inside and knocked down our shots," said Bramlett, who finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds, going 9 of 9 from the field. "We are really coming of age. Some of the scoring has to fall on our shoulders; we can't force J.T .to do it all."
Edgerson chipped in with 16 points and 12 rebounds while Wright added 22 points and 10 rebounds. Wright was also 12 of 12 from the free throw line.
"Michael is an excellent shooter and excellent shooters are excellent free throw shooters," UA head coach Lute Olson said. "He has got to be quicker and more explosive with his shot, but when he gets to the line he is consistently one of our best free throw shooters."
Wright said that though he was nervous through the first two games, he is starting to get the hang of things, especially in the paint.
"The inside game is my bread and butter, baby," he said.
With the emergence of Wright and his ability to get to the free throw line, Olson now has three weapons inside, a reversal from last year's team which had three weapons outside in Mike Bibby, Miles Simon and Michael Dickerson.
"Our perimeter guys did a much better job of getting the ball inside. In practice it was required at least one touch inside and that has helped the big guys," Olson said. "But we are not going to face another team that is going to let us inside that easily again."
Dan Rosen can be reached via e-mail at Dan.Rosen@wildcat.arizona.edu.