Arizona proves tall task for Bears in Tucson
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Chris Kaba scored a game-high 15 points and was one of four Northern Colorado players in double figures Sunday in the Bears' 90-73 loss to Arizona in an iBN Sports Las Vegas Invitational game at the McKale Center.
Northern Colorado will continue play in the Las Vegas Invitational at 8 p.m. (MT) Tuesday night at Santa Clara before continuing on to the Orleans Arena on Friday and Saturday night.
Sophomore Derrick Williams scored 15 points to lead the Wildcats (3-0), who scored the game's first eight points and led 57-31 by halftime.
"We missed a lot of gimmes early and a lot of close shots at the basket, but Arizona had an awful lot to do with that," Northern Colorado coach B.J. Hill said. "They are a big, strong athletic team, and we didn't handle that very well."
The Bears were outrebounded 45-26 in the loss and shot just 36 percent from the field, compared to Arizona's 46 percent, including a sizzling 64 percent in the first 20 minutes.
Those are all numbers that usually add up to a road loss in a David vs. Goliath match such as this, but a majority of the Wildcats' damage came at the free-throw line.
Arizona made 12 more free throws (34-42) than the 22 Northern Colorado even attempted (19-22).
"The best way I can sum up this game is we need to get in the weight room," Hill said. "That's the bottom line. We got outmanned and outmuscled at every position, one through five and whoever they brought in. We've got to get tougher, we've got to get stronger and need to learn to compete in these types of atmospheres a lot better.
"When your stronger physically you have the confidence to come into a venue like this and compete at a higher level than what we did today."
Addo, a redshirt player who sat out last season, set a career high in points with his outing and Kaba's effort was his second straight game with 15 points.
Nearly missing from the scoring column was senior Devon Beitzel, who connected on the only two free-throw chances he had but was held without a field goal for just the third time in his career.
"I think the bottom line today was (Arizona's) on-ball pressure was the catalyst for the domino effect in had in the whole game," Hill said. "Their on-ball pressure sped us up on the offensive end and got us doing things we don't do, that aren't part of our system: taking quick shots and turning the ball over.
"We were trying to make home-run plays instead of sticking in our system and what we do, and it snowballed on us. When you play a team of this caliber the snowball gets pretty big in a hurry."