The Northern Arizona University golf team wrapped up action from day one of the Rio Verde Invitational on Friday, turning in a team score of 18-over-par 306 to head into round two today in fourth place and six strokes off second-place Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan.
The last time: Allonzo Trier returned from his 19-game suspension and Arizona limited UCLA to just 2-of-14 3-point shooting in the first half to take an 11-point halftime lead, then hung on to that margin in the second half of a 96-85 win at Pauley Pavilion. The Wildcats had six players score in double figures, led by freshman Kobi Simmons, who had 20 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Trier had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists in his first game back after the NCAA held him out because of a positive PED test.
Since losing to Arizona and USC in successive games last month, the Bruins have pulled off six straight wins, including an 82-79 win over Oregon at Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 9 that put the Wildcats alone in first place in the Pac-12. They’ve done it in part by playing better defense overall, mixing in a 3-2 zone defense with their man-to-man, becoming the third-best field-goal percentage defensive team in Pac-12 games (allowing just 42.9 percent) and the sixth most efficient defense overall (105.0 points allowed per 100 possessions). Reserve center Ike Anigbogu has been playing better on both sides of the floor, a 6-10 and 250-pound rim-protecting presence who also scored a season-high 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting at ASU on Thursday. Guard Aaron Holiday continues to be a disruptive defensive presence off the bench, while starting point guard Lonzo Ball leads the Pac-12 in steals (2.1) and assists (7.0) in conference play.
“They’re the No. 1 offensive team in the country (92.1 points per game) and (third) in 3-point percentage (41.7). They’re so explosive at all five positions, and you can only hope to slow them down. On any given night, anybody on their team can beat you. To me they’re the most explosive offensive team we’ve played. (Defensively) they’ll mix it up, probably play a lot more zone against us. Their staff has done a great job of getting their guys to play better defensively. They’re holding teams to a lower percentage and coming together at the right time.” — UA associate head coach Joe Pasternack, who scouted the Bruins.
After suffering a broken ankle as a freshman, the talented tailback quickly turned his attention to getting better in 2017.