TUCSON, Ariz. - Throughout the entire game Thursday night, Tim Floyd didn't seem to have any answer for the Arizona big men as they dominated the glass. His frustration was evident but none more when the final buzzer sounded and he could only shake his head at the final score.
Arizona (2-0) defeated UTEP (1-1) 72-51 Thursday night in the McKale Center and it was evident the Miners were not only frustrated with their performance but being out-rebounded 35-15 as well.
"I feel it was pretty much about the rebounding," sophomore forward Julian Washburn said. "We didn't rebound good at all as a team. We really gave ourselves no chance to win from the get go. If we had just rebounded a little better, we would have put ourselves in a position to win the game but we never rebounded."
Arizona head coach Sean Miller felt the rebounding was the main distinction throughout the game.
"The one thing I liked about this game was the rebounding margin," Miller said. "When you beat a team 35 to 15 on the glass, I think that is the single difference in the game."
While the rebounding deficit was the main problem for the Miners, it wasn't their only problem. For most of the game, UTEP could not find an answer for Arizona's perimeter shooting as senior Mark Lyons was 3-for-5 for three and finished the game with 17 points.
UTEP's inability to slow Lyons only compounded the rebounding problem and the lack of defense opened up good looks for the Wildcats.
"It was a little bit of both," Floyd said of their problems. "They are good players for starters and they really got any look they wanted. I think they only had one three in the second half but they didn't need to (shoot threes). They just drove it and layed it up."
After Arizona extended their lead to as much as 15 in the second half, UTEP narrowed Arizona's margin to eight points with just over eight minutes left in the game. The Wildcats answered the Miners' small 6-0 run with a 15-2 run to close out the game.
"They beat us off the dribble for 10 straight minutes there at the end of the game," Floyd said. "They just drove through us and we had no fill-in help behind from the big guys. Our screen and roll coverage broke down during that ten minutes."
"We didn't really respond and had no real answer down the stretch," Floyd said.
Julian and his younger brother and Chris Washburn both finished with 11 points while Jacques Streeter added 10 points. John Bohannon fouled out of the game and was held scoreless on the night.
UTEP will return home for a couple days of practice before heading to Orlando for the Old Spice Classic and a opening game with Oklahoma on Thanksgiving day.