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HomeSportsBasketballCaleb Love, Keshad Johnson carry polished No. 2 Arizona vs. Colgate

Caleb Love, Keshad Johnson carry polished No. 2 Arizona vs. Colgate


Arizona’s transfers are playing major roles as the No. 2 Wildcats get back in action Saturday afternoon against Colgate in Tucson, Ariz.

Arizona (6-0) last played on Thanksgiving, leading most of the way but having to battle to pull out a 74-68 victory over Michigan State in Palm Desert, Calif.

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love scored a team-high 17 points. San Diego State transfer Keshad Johnson had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four steals.

“These dudes both played in national championships. They’ve been through the wars,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd of Love and Johnson.

“I’m just lucky to coach them, and we’re thankful they’re on our side. They’ve come in and they both have had success in their previous places, but they’ve 100 percent bought into our culture, and they’re 100 percent contributing to our culture every single day.”

The game against Colgate (4-3) might seem like a bit of a breather in Arizona’s nonconference gauntlet, but the Raiders are the three-time defending Patriot League champions and were voted to win the conference again in a preseason vote of the league’s coaches and sports information directors.

Braeden Smith collected 21 points, nine assists, five steals and four rebounds in an 84-69 win over Binghamton on Wednesday night. He is averaging a team-high 15.7 points on the season.

“We were very productive when Braeden was on the court tonight,” coach Matt Langel said. “He made some tough shots, made his foul shots, and flew around on both ends. Five steals is impressive, and his defensive play led to some offensive scoring opportunities.”

Colgate big man Keegan Records, a first-team All-Patriot League selection last season, is averaging 9.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

Records will run into a big Arizona frontcourt that includes Johnson at power forward. Seven-footers Oumar Ballo and Motiejus Krivas are forces at center.

The centers are two of the six Arizona players averaging in double-figure points, led by Kylan Boswell at 13.5 per game. Johnson is next at 13.3, followed by Love at 13.2.

Johnson and Love also have contributed to a much-improved Arizona defense that is allowing opponents to shoot just 38.1 percent. The Wildcats, who won at Duke in their second game of the season, are scoring 95.3 points per game.

A third first-year transfer also is making his mark as part of the rotation. Jaden Bradley from Alabama is coming off the bench to support the backcourt, averaging 5.5 points and contributing to the defensive transformation.

“When JB’s on the court, I’m not looking for him to score 20 points or anything like that,” Lloyd said. “I look for him to contribute to winning, and he does that every single time.”

After playing Colgate, Arizona has pre-Christmas games against Wisconsin (Dec. 9, in Tucson), No. 1 Purdue (Dec. 16, in Indianapolis), No. 23 Alabama (Dec. 20, in Phoenix) and No. 13 Florida Atlantic (Dec. 23, in Las Vegas).

“There’s probably a good chance we don’t get through it unscathed,” Lloyd said.

–Field Level Media

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