Hot hands meet as CS Bakersfield visits Arizona

NCAA

Arizona’s Jemarl Baker won’t be the only hot shooter on the court when the Wildcats host Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday night in Tucson, Ariz.

Baker is coming off a career night. The junior guard, who played his first season at Kentucky, made his first seven 3-point attempts and poured in 33 points in a 96-53 victory over Northern Arizona on Monday as the Wildcats improved to 3-0.

Baker finished 12 of 16 from the field, including 7 of 9 from beyond the arc.

On the same night, meanwhile, Cal State Bakersfield’s Travis Henson came off the bench to make 7 of 10 3-point attempts, heating up for 21 points in just 13 minutes against non-NCAA opponent Bethesda.

Baker’s points total was the most for an Arizona player under coach Sean Miller, who is in his 12th season.

“He’s been as good of a consistent shooter every day as we’ve had,” Miller said. “Quite frankly our team needs him, not necessarily to play exactly like he played tonight, but being a guy that plays with great offensive confidence. …

“I don’t care who we played tonight or what the score was, the way he moved and shot the ball I think speaks for itself.”

Baker’s hot night moved him to the top of Arizona scoring list at 15.0 points per game. James Akinjo, handling the bulk of point guard duties in his first season after transferring from Georgetown, is averaging 14.3 points and allowing Baker to play more off the ball this season.

Nevada transfer Jordan Brown has two double-doubles in his first three games for Arizona and is averaging 14.0 points and 9.7 rebounds. In the other game, he had foul trouble in a narrow win over Eastern Washington.

“When he gets the ball in and around the paint, he’s got a great touch,” Miller said. “Two of the first three games he’s played he’s been terrific.”

Cal State Bakersfield (1-1) cruised Monday night after opening Dec. 2 with a 53-47 loss at Santa Clara. Henson, a transfer from Angelina College in Lufkin, Texas, went scoreless in the first game for the Roadrunners before his 3-point barrage Monday.

“That’s why we recruited him,” Barnes said on Bakersfield.com. “Travis has been doing it in practice, so we have an expectation. What Travis did tonight, it didn’t surprise us. That’s what he’s been doing in practice.”

Henson is the only Roadrunner averaging double-figure points.

Cal State Bakersfield was picked seventh in the 10-team Big West preseason media poll. This is CSUB’s first season in the Big West.

Arizona leads the series 3-0, including a 91-59 home win in November 2017.

–Field Level Media

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