LAS VEGAS - The Arizona Wildcats received a glimpse of what life is like without Derrick Williams, and it wasn't all that bad.
Maybe the Wildcats' 82-59 win Friday wasn't pretty, but with Williams limited in the first half with foul trouble, the Wildcats still managed to improve to 5-0 heading into a showdown with sixth-ranked Kansas tonight.
Arizona beat Santa Clara before about 3,000 fans at the Orleans Arena, surviving in large part by hitting 27 of 34 free throws, while Williams recovered by scoring 18 of his 22 points in the second half.
"It's going to happen," Arizona forward Kevin Parrom said of Williams' absence. "We've got to be ready for it."
So Parrom hit two three-pointers en route to 10 points in the first half, and Solomon Hill, in what UA coach Sean Miller called the best game of his college career, had 20 points by hitting 10 of 12 from the free-throw line - with all the free throws coming in the second half.
"He played to his strength," Miller said. "Around the basket, he was a load. One thing I'll give Solomon credit for is he didn't start off playing the game very well, but he ended up coming back and having a great game."
Hill and Williams combined to create particular damage in the middle throughout the second half, with Hill getting his 10 free throws after halftime and Williams making another 5 of 6 after halftime.
"We saw on game film they would collapse," Williams said. "But in the second half, things started opening up and I think they got tired."
Williams then polished off the Broncos (4-2) by hitting a pair of threes near the three-minute mark, following one from Jamelle Horne, and UA led 79-53 with three minutes to go.
The Wildcats enter the game with Kansas with a question mark at shooting guard. Brendon Lavender started the second half Friday in place of Kyle Fogg, who was scoreless with no assists and four turnovers in the first half.
Fogg did not play in the second half and Miller said he wasn't sure how or if he'll use Fogg tonight, saying he was disappointed in his reaction
"Kyle had a bad first half, didn't handle his bad play well and I'm not dealing with that," Miller said. "This is a team sport. This is basketball. This isn't tennis. There's no time to pout or have a pity party if you don't make shots. If guys on this team don't buy in to the total team effort and play for the win, then you're not going to see them at Arizona and you're damn sure not going to see them in the game."
In the first half, Parrom hit two three-pointers and had 10 total points while Arizona stayed on top of Santa Clara 34-28.
The Wildcats survived a relatively uneven first half, having foul trouble to Williams, being matched on the boards 14-14 and coughing up 12 turnovers.
Williams was 0 for 3 from the field but made 4 of 4 free throws in the first half, while Lavender was UA's second-leading scorer in the half with six points.
Parrom hit two three pointers within two minutes to put UA up 30-19 with 3:57 left in first half.
Arizona went up 21-16 with 7:47 to go after Santa Clara took a brief 16-15 lead with 9:35 to go.
Lavender bobbled a pass under the basket, but Jordin Mayes hit a 19-footer on the same possession to give UA the 21-16 lead.
Arizona got off to a somewhat bumpy start, being tied 4-4 through four minutes while Miller pulled Williams after a foul two minutes into the game and went with Kyryl Natyazhko instead. Natyazhko, however, picked up three fouls and Miller also went to Alex Jacobson inside.
The Wildcats went ahead 13-8 when Lavender drove inside with 11:58 to go but Santa Clara came back to take a 16-15 lead when Robert Smith grabbed a loose ball and drove for a layup with 9:40 left.
Before the Arizona game, Kansas blew away Ohio 91-48, and Kansas coach Bill Self said the Wildcats would be "by far" the best team the Jayhawks have played yet.
"They're off to a great start," Self said. "Sean's a great coach and they'll get after us."
The last time the two teams met, two seasons ago, Arizona won 84-67 over Kansas at McKale Center just before Christmas.
"With Wise, Budinger, Hill and Horne, they just wore us out," Self said. "Hopefully we'll handle it better tomorrow."
Self said he would talk with Kansas center Jeff Withey about playing against Arizona, with whom Withey spent the summer and early fall of 2008 with before transferring in the wake of Lute Olson's retirement.
"But it's not like we need him to score 15 or 20 points," Self said. "Usually, when you hear about that, it's Brett Favre going back to Green Bay or something. I don't think it'll be a huge factor."
During the Kansas-Ohio game, the Bobcats missed all 18 of the three-pointers they tried.
"Twelve of them were probably pretty good looks and we got lucky they missed," Self said.
• What: Arizona vs. Kansas at Las Vegas Invitational
• Where: Las Vegas
• When: 8:30 p.m.
• TV: ESPN2
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM
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