Boswell scores 18, No. 12 Arizona dominates Morgan State 122-59 in season opener
Tue, Nov 7, 2023
NCAAB News (AP)
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona's roster is filled with new players from other programs, high school and overseas.
As first tests go, the Wildcats certainly passed.
Kylan Boswell scored 18 points, Pelle Larsson added 15 and No. 12 Arizona opened coach Tommy Lloyd's third season with a 122-59 demolition of Morgan State on Monday night.
"We have a lot of guys who have never worn an Arizona jersey so we really want to hammer home what our standards are," Lloyd said. "And I think for the most part, our guys check those boxes."
The Wildcats dominated after an early feeling-out period, using two big runs to build a 35-point halftime lead, their largest since 1998. Arizona shot 55% from the floor, had a 58-20 advantage in the paint and scored 41 points off Morgan State's 25 turnovers.
Caleb Love had 12 points in his Arizona debut and freshman KJ Lewis had five of Arizona's 16 steals in a solid defensive effort. Arizona also had eight players score in double figures and just seven turnovers in its 23rd straight home-opening win.
Christian Oliver led Morgan State with 12 points.
"We have strength in numbers," said Arizona forward Keshad Johnson, who had 14 points. "When it comes to March and April, that's what you need."
Arizona lost several key players from a team that lost to Princeton in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament, including leading scorer Azuolas Tubelis, point guard Kerr Kriisa and 7-footer Christian Koloko.
Larsson, Boswell and Oumar Ballo anchor the returning core and Lloyd filled in the rest of the roster with freshmen and transfers, including Love and Johnson from San Diego State.
The Bears had no answer no matter who Arizona had on the floor.
Morgan State kept it close early before the Wildcats ran away on runs of 15-2 and 18-3. Arizona harassed the Bears into 15 first-half turnovers - leading to 22 transition points - and dominated the paint to lead 61-26 at halftime.
The Bears added to their turnover problem by taking numerous wild shots that were nowhere near going in.
The Wildcats didn't let up to open the second half, creating turnovers that led to transition points during a 15-2 run that made it 76-30. Ballo, Arizona's 7-foot, 260-pound center, punctuated the run with a steal and breakaway dunk.
"It went really well," Boswell said. "Everyone played well, the coaching staff had a great game plan, played hard, played with great effort. Great game."
Morgan State: The Bears were no match for Arizona's size and athleticism in an expected loss at one of college basketball's toughest road environments.
Arizona: The Wildcats did what they were supposed to against a small conference opponent, showing off their depth and athleticism to win their 17th straight season opener. A bigger test comes Friday, when they head to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face No. 2 Duke.
Boswell was in control from the start.
The 6-foot-2 guard played with loads of confidence as a 17-year-old freshman backup to Kriisa last season. With Kriisa now playing for West Virginia, the offensive reigns were Boswell's - and he flourished.
Pulling up on the perimeter and beating his man off the dribble, Boswell had 11 first-half points as Arizona built it's big lead. He finished 7 for 10 from the floor and 4 of 6 from 3.
Morgan State: Hosts Cheyney University of Pennsylvania on Thursday.
Arizona: Plays at No. 2 Duke on Friday.
Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here ___ AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball"