Arizona’s Brandon Williams had 23 points and Brandon Randolph added 19 to carry the Wildcats to a 75-64 exhibition win over Division II Chaminade at McKale Center.
Williams shot 9 of 16 from the field while making 4 of 8 3-pointers, and Randolph was 6 for 12 while making 4 of 5 from 3.
Except for those two offensive performances, the Wildcats had plenty of shaky moments. Arizona and Chaminade both shot 45 percent from the field, and Chaminade outrebounded the Wildcats 36-35.
Arizona led 31-29 at halftime but allowed Chaminade to go on a 9-0 run early in the second half to take a 40-32 lead with 16:17 left. But Arizona went on a 10-0 run, tying the game at 40 after a 3 and a layup from Alex Barcello and going ahead 42-40 on a rebound basket from Emmanuel Akot with 11:37 left.
The game remained particularly tight until Arizona the final five minutes, when Randolph went coast-to-coast after a defensive rebound for a layup and then stole the ball from Chaminade’s Telly Davenport. That turned into a three-point play from Williams, whose free throw after a layup gave the Wildcats a 65-55 lead.
Arizona’s lead was cut to just 68-62 entering the final two minutes but Justin Coleman hit a 3-pointer with 1:49 left and the Wildcats hung on from there.
Williams had 14 of his 21 points in the first half to help Arizona take a 31-29 halftime lead.
In the first half, the Wildcats shot just 35.5 percent from the field and were outrebounded 22-16 but took four more free throws. UA took seven, making four, while Chaminade shot only one.
While Williams made 5 of 7 shots and hit 4 of 5 3-pointers, other UA shooters were a collective 1-for-10 from 3-point range. Chaminade shot 40 percent and was led by senior forward Erik Scheive, who had 10 points.
Down 13-6 early, the Wildcats rode Williams’ hot shooting back into the lead. After Justin Coleman made a pair of free throws, Williams made his third and fourth 3-pointers of the game – the last a 30-foot bomb – to give Arizona a 14-13 lead with 14 minutes left.
Chaminade had taken its 13-6 lead by hitting 5 of 8 field goals to start the game and outrebounding UA 5-1 through the first 4:28 of the game.
But after Arizona went up by as many as 10 points, 23-13 on a 3-pointer from Ryan Luther, the Silverswords didn’t go away. They went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 25 with five minutes left and the game remained close until halftime.
Chaminade gave San Diego State a similar scare on Thursday in an exhibition game in San Diego. The Silverswords took a six-point lead at halftime and were locked in a one-possession game with 90 seconds left before the Aztecs won 68-63.
The Wildcats started the same lineup as in their exhibition win over Western New Mexico, with Coleman at point guard, Williams at shooting guard, Randolph at small forward, Luther at power forward and Ira Lee at center.
Projected starting center Chase Jeter came off the bench after missing Arizona’s exhibition with Western New Mexico because of an apparent sprained ankle (UA will no longer discuss injuries). Jeter had one point with six rebounds over 17 minutes played.
Coleman finished with 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and two turnovers.
Arizona will open its regular season on Wednesday at McKale Center against Houston Baptist, which finished last season with the sixth-worst RPI in Division I.