The 11th ranked Arizona Wildcats came to University Hall Sunday night to provide the Virginia Cavaliers an early season test in out of conference play. The Wildcats came into the game with one of America's best backcourts according to most analysts so the Hoos young backcourt would have their hands full. How would the Hoos fare? The Hoos put together a great game and came away with a rather convincing 78-60 victory for the home crowd.
In the early going the game was fairly sloppy and the Wildcats couldn't find an answer for senior forward Devin Smith and freshman point guard Sean Singletary. "Superman" put on a show early scoring from all over the court and flexing his muscle on the boards as well. The Hoos found their groove and Singletary's ability to get to the bucket and either score or create opportunities for his teammates looked to be the difference. The freshman point guard provided some outstanding defense on the highly touted Arizona backcourt as Hasaan Adams only managed 2 points in the first half. It appeared that the Wildcats may have focused their attention on sophomore shooting guard J.R. Reynolds who struggled early. Singletary, Smith, and the rest of the Hoos picked up the slack though. At halftime the Hoos held a 34-22 lead over Arizona.
In the second half Lute Olson obviously got onto his squad as they came out firing and started to claw themselves back into the game. The Wildcats cut the lead to 9 but Pete Gillen called a 20 second timeout to stop the momentum. Coming out of the timeout senior Elton Brown scored on a nice bucket drawing a foul on Ivan Radenovic to push the lead back to 11 with 15:31 to go. Every time the Cats made a run the Hoos answered to keep them at bay. "Superman" ended the night leading the Hoos with 17 points and 7 rebounds while Singletary put up a gaudy stat line of 15 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and 6 steals. Elton Brown and Gary Forbes also contributed 13 points each in the 78-60 victory.
The most glaring problem a year ago for the Hoos was their poor ability to rebound. In the opener against Robert Morris the team didn't appear to have improved that much but against the more powerful and larger Arizona Wildcats the Hoos showed some of the desire necessary to win competitive games against upper echelon teams. The point guard problem last year also appears to be solved as well as the tandem of Sean Singletary and T.J. Bannister looks to be an explosive 1-2 punch.
With this victory in the books we're going to hand out our player of the game award to freshman Sean Singletary for his outstanding performance.
The Hoos next game comes Wednesday night against Appalachian State from the Southern Conference starting at 8:00 pm. Go Hoos!!!