By Jon Rothstein
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1. ARIZONA’S RESOLVE
Much like their games already this season against Duquesne and Ball State, Arizona found a way to navigate a deficit and wind up with a victory. Sean Miller’s team might not have the overall talent it did last season but they have incredible resolve. The Wildcats’ core of veterans all do a tremendous job of playing each game with the biggest weapons they have — their hearts.
2. SOLID SOLOMON
He’s not the first player an opponent will put in bold print on a scouting report but Solomon Hill is one heck of a glue guy. The burly forward was at the core of everything Arizona did in their win over St. John’s and always seemed to make a big play when the Wildcats trailed. Much like the other Wildcats who went to the Elite Eight last season, Hill doesn’t get rattled no matter the deficit, atmosphere, or situation.
3. PERIMETER POWER
Nurideen Lindsey, D’Angelo Harrison, and Phil Greene are all in their first month of college basketball but Thursday night, the trio didn’t play like it. Despite Lindsey’s seven turnovers, the youthful perimeter of the Red Storm traded blows with Arizona and displayed many of the attributes that could make them a perimeter to be reckoned with in the Big East.
4. “KHRIS – LESS”
Many wondered how Texas A + M would fare with their leading scorer Khris Middleton out with a knee injury and the result was obvious.
Without the services of their most talented wing, the Aggies lacked a legitimate go to guy offensively and never got into a rhythm throughout the entire 40 minutes against Mississippi State. Both Elston Turner and David Loubeau showed spurts of being effective scoring the ball, but neither resembled the type of threat that Middleton represents. To win the Big 12, this team will need their top player back in the lineup, which is expected to happen some time in December.
5. MERCURIAL IN STARKVILLE
There was a spurt in the first half against Texas A + M when Mississippi State looked breathtaking. The Bulldogs owned the paint, were freakishly athletic on the backboards, and had a deft touch from long distance — then it all stopped. After a period in which Rick Stansbury’s triumvirate of Dee Bost, Renardo Sidney, and Arnett Moultrie all looked like they were three of better players in their conference, they started to coast. This team will show flashes of greatness all season long. It also says here they’ll show flashes of inconsistency.
BY THE NUMBERS
The combined point totals for D’Angelo Harrison, Nurideen Lindsey, and Phil Greene.
Eight and Eight
The number of points and rebounds for Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie , who transferred from UTEP.
THEY SAID IT
“He speeds up the pace of the game the minute he steps on the floor,” – Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury on Bulldogs guard Deville Smith.
“The best thing we did was play two difficult exhibitions. It allowed our guys to refocus. We’re a long ways away from where I think we can be but we’ve climbed since those exhibitions,” – Arizona coach Sean Miller on his team.
“This group has shown the ability to take a punch and fight back. That’s something to build on,” – St. John’s coach Steve Lavin on the Red Storm.