The newcomers are fitting right in at Arizona, which continues non-conference play Thursday against visiting Utah Valley. Forced to replace five starters from a season ago, the Wildcats have adjusted nicely behind a solid eight-man rotation led by sophomore guard Brandon Randolph and Duke transfer Chase Jeter, who averages 12.6 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Randolph averages a 17.3 points to lead Arizona, whose only losses so far came at the Maui Invitational to No. 1 Gonzaga and ninth-ranked Auburn. Coach Sean Miller's squad bounced back with a victory over Georgia Southern before forcing 19 turnovers and leading for over 36 minutes in last Sunday's 76-72 win over Connecticut in Hartford. Jeter had 14 points and seven boards in the contest while fellow newcomers Ryan Luther (10 points), and Justin Coleman (three steals) each played a key role in the Wildcats' first true road game of the season. "One of the strengths of our team this year is that we have a very unselfish group," Miller told reporters. "I thought each of those three guys really delivered and played with a lot of poise. You could sense their leadership."
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ABOUT UTAH VALLEY (6-3): Senior guard Conner Toolson scored a season-high 26 points in last Saturday's 98-75 win over Denver as the Wolverines won their fifth straight following a three-game losing streak. Toolson averages 15.2 points on 51 percent shooting for the Wolverines, who were picked to finish third in the WAC preseason media poll. Utah Valley lost to BYU (75-65), Saint Mary's (92-63) and Utah State (65-46) but have a formidable frontline led by 6-11 center Baylee Steele, who averages 7.1 points and 8.8 rebounds.
ABOUT ARIZONA (6-2): Miller has started sophomore Emmanuel Akot over senior Ryan Luther at power forward in the past two games, but both played valuable minutes in the win over UConn. Luther suffered a minor finger injury during the Maui tournament but had 10 points in 20 minutes against the Huskies, while Akot contributed six points and five rebounds in 28 minutes. Miller is exercising patience with freshman guard Brandon Williams, who is averaging 12.1 points but shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 9-of-37 from 3-point range.
1. Arizona is 86-3 at home since the start of the 2013-14 season.
2. Utah Valley is 2-8 all-time against Pac-12 opponents, with the last victory coming against Oregon State on Dec. 1, 2010.
3. The Wildcats visit Alabama on Sunday before opening a five-game homestand against Baylor on Dec. 15.
PREDICTION: Arizona 87, Utah Valley 63 Bet Now
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