Observations from the Arizona-Rice game and trying to remember if I’ve ever cover the Owls in a sporting event in my 20-year plus career…. Nope. … And still not sure if I have.
The Owls look bad. They’ve missed their first seven shots — and still played UA close. Ugh!
Only because I have to tell you the score early in this blog: Arizona won 66-49 to move to 2-0, but wasn’t all that good in victory. It took a late-game resurgence for the Cats to get out of a mid-game funk to pull away. UA can thank junior Jamelle Horne because he came on late for four points in the final minutes. He finished with 13 points.
That said, here’s the quote of the day, sort of: “We’re not a very good team right now,” UA coach Sean Miller said. “I think we’re a team that can get a lot better. We gave a great effort on defense at times and that’s a starting point. It’s a new season and we have a lot of different guys working through things.”
And, Rice was 1 for 10 from the 3-point line after hitting its first one with just more than 16 minutes left in the game. Rice is now down, 37-27, with 16:07 left.
Now, it doesn’t look so good for — Arizona. What? Rice just hit its second 3-pointer of the game (2-for-12) and is down only 43-36 with 13:19 left in the game. Coach Miller has just asked for a 30-second timeout. Good move.
“We weren’t playing particularly well on offense throughout the game,” Miller said of the moment. “We took some bad shots. There were some turnovers. It wasn’t a fast-paced game to have 17 turnovers. It’s tough to score when you can’t get a shot.
“And in conjunction we didn’t play great defense. There were two forces working against us. And the lead shrunk.”
Miller did applaud his team for getting the win and returning to form late in the game.
So here we are and the Zona Zoo has come up with something new for the first time in, well, forever. Apparently, Miller met with the Zoo members and spoke about his excitement in them being part of something special. He let a few hundred into practice and then had a basketball session with the group.
“Watching them show up in full force with the football having an incredibly big weekend (Oregon) with a football game and it being two games from that, I’d like to personally thank them,” Miller said. “One of the things that helped our start defensively was how ferocious our start was. Anyone in the building understood our students were like another defender”
And truer words have never been spoken: “There has never been an Arizona that needs McKale to be at the heightened environment more than this team because of the certain challenges. I thought they helped us get off to a very good start.”
Every time a Rice player either dribbled or passed they say something. When the Owls pass it says pass and when it dribbles it says “boing.’’ And when it shoots it says, “Brick.’’ Must have worked. The Owls missed their first seven shots and by the time the first media timeout occurred was down, 9-0, as UA hit 4 of 7 shots. This could get ugly for the Owls. … The antics didn’t last long. The Zoo has stopped already and there is still more than seven minutes left in the half.
The Owls just scored a basket — six minutes into the game. But UA came back quickly and hit a shot to take a 12-4 lead. Rice hit two free throws with 14:40 on the clock. Rice is now 1-12 from the floor. Looks like Ben Braun hasn’t changed much as a coach. He still can’t win in McKale Center. He didn’t while a head coach at California and it won’t happen on Thursday night.
Now in the game for the Wildcats is …. sophomore Alex Jacobson. It’s his first time on the court this season. My guess he’ll play about 10 minutes tonight and average about four or five during the season. He played about a minute and then was replaced. That doesn’t bode well for him. I might have to revise my four or five minute prediction. Miller made it quite clear Jacobson needs to “perform better on a daily basis.”
Good luck, Alex.
Let me just say that Rice is HORRIBLE. It has gone 2 for 20 to start the game. It doesn’t even look like a basketball team.
Scratch that. All of a sudden Rice has found a rhythm and Arizon has gone south. The Owls have closed the gap to eight, 28-20, with under 2 minutes left. Arizona has now gone up 30-20 behind two Brendon Lavender free throws. …
Sophomore Kyle Fogg hits a 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer with three seconds left in the half to give Arizona a comfortable 33-20 lead at the half. It hasn’t been good basketball.
The more you watch Solomon Hill the more you have to love him. He just did a nice spin move around the basket, making it look easy. What I like about him is that he doesn’t come off as as jerk. … And in this line of work, that’s a good thing.
It looks like the little things are bogging down UA. Bad passes and missed opportunities on rebounds. UA should be up by 20 but has let the Owls hang around with not-so-great play. And this is what the game has come to: the Ooh Ahh man has jsut come out with 7:57 left in the game and UA up 52-42. When would you have seen the Ooh Ahh Man come out for a game as insignificant as this one? Boy, times have changed. By the way, good to see teh Ooh Ahh Man is still alive and well, and crazy enough to disrobe in front of 14,000 fans.
“It’s not our offense that lets teams back in – it’s our defense,” said Nic Wise, who finished with 15 points. “We had a four minute stretch where they a couple of layups and their leading scorers got going. We just got to keep our intensity up for 40 minutes.”
Sophomore guard Garland Judkins didn’t play. Miller said he can’t play everybody “and maybe he’ll get in the next game.” Miller said Judkins, who went through a couple of discipline problems last season under interim coach Russ Pennell, didn’t play because of discipline problems or anything else. Miller said its his job to put the 10 best out there.