TUCSON - Arizona’s opponents know they have to cope with Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger. Now they’re going to have to figure out a way to stop Jordan Hill.
The sophomore center had 15 points and 10 rebounds as No. 19 Arizona defeated San Diego State 74-58 Saturday, the Wildcats’ sixth straight victory. It was the third double-double of the season and second in a row for the 6-foot-10 Hill.
“When I step on the court, I just think that no big man can stop me,” Hill said. “I know that I’m hard to stop, so I’m just going to go out there and do what I have to do.”
Bayless, a Phoenix St. Mary’s graduate, had 15 points, Budinger added 13 as the Wildcats (9-2) tuned up for their Dec. 29 trip to No. 2 Memphis.
Hill was 6-for-7 from the field to lead the Wildcats in scoring for the third time in four games.
After starting only 12 games last season, Hill is quietly becoming a force for the Wildcats, whose inside game was expected to be a glaring flaw entering the season.
Interim coach Kevin O’Neill said Hill’s conditioning has improved since training camp, and he is learning how to avoid foul trouble.
“The hardest thing is starting and being an accountable player, and that’s at any level,” O’Neill said. “This is Jordan’s first time starting (regularly) and being an accountable player. And because of that, it’s taken him a while to get his feet on the ground. … All in all, he’s making some progress that is badly needed for us.”
The Wildcats had limited their last two opponents to 50 points or fewer; last year, Arizona held only two opponents under 50 all season.
Kyle Spain scored 20 points for the Aztecs (9-3), who have dropped two of their past three games.