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Arizona notes and quotes: Point guards, Perry, problems on defense

MoMo Jones

Arizona point guard MoMo Jones looks for someone to pass to in the second half against Arizona State.
Photo by Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

The Arizona Wildcats’ point guards are like football long-snappers. Better that you don’t mention them at all.

There wasn’t a lot of reason to talk about starter MoMo Jones and backup Jordin Mayes on Saturday in an 80-69 victory over Arizona State. Jones did not have a field goal and finished with two points. Mayes hit a 3-pointer for his only points.

Not flashy. A quiet scoring day.

Coach Sean Miller can live with that. He’s more concerned with other numbers. He has been stressing turnover-to-assist ratio, especially with Jones, who has struggled in that area.

Saturday, he had three assists and no turnovers in 25 minutes. Jones had two assists and one turnover in 15 minutes.

“You look at our point guard play today, and they may not show up in the stats, but they played 40 minutes and had one turnover,” Miller said. “Our offense is so much more efficient when we’re not breaking down at that position.

“I thought Jordin Mayes and MoMo did a good job today.”

Tweet of the Game

From Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com, who saw sixth-ranked San Diego State defeat visiting UNLV on Wednesday night:

“Crowd & atmosphere at San Diego St. the other night far better than the one here in Tucson today. Used to be big-time homecourt advantage.”

And this is coming from one who knows, considering Goodman is a 1994 graduate of Arizona.

I don’t know how things are at San Diego State, but as to his point about McKale Center … does anybody think the atmosphere is as good as it used to be?

Perry power

Arizona’s Jesse Perry moved into the starting lineup at power forward six games ago, holding on to the spot despite a couple of good games from erstwhile starter Jamelle Horne.

Perry doesn’t have ideal size for the position, but he’s a scrapper. But it’s not like Arizona State has a bunch of tall trees in its frontcourt, so Perry wasn’t small by Sun Devil standards and his energy around the basket was evident: 13 points on 6 of 9 shooting.

He was credited with three rebounds — two on the offensive end — although it seemed like he had more than that.

“My energy is all based on my teammates,” Perry said. “They came out there and play hard, and I feed off them and they feed off me. … I’m coming back from two hard games at Cal and Stanford, and I thought I played pretty good today.”

Restoring order

Arizona had lost three games to Arizona State in McKale Center, and had won only one of its last seven games against the Sun Devils overall.

“I’m very excited to win today’s game,” Miller said. “Anytime you’re in a rivalry, there are a lot of people who care about the results. For our fans — they’re awesome — and our school, it’s always nice to be able to deliver on an afternoon like today.”

From both sides

FoxSportsArizona.com had two veteran sportswriters at the game — Steve Rivera (who also contributes at TucsonCitizen.com) from the Arizona angle and Jack Magruder from the ASU perspective.

From Rivera:

TUCSON — For 18 games, Arizona sophomore Derrick Williams seemingly has raised the bar each and every game. On Saturday afternoon – what appeared to be a stroll in the park from time to time – his teammates came along to help.

Yes, Derrick Williams tied his career high with 31 points in Arizona’s 80-69 win over visiting Arizona State, but it was the other guys that helped keep the Sun Devils from winning their fourth consecutive game in Tucson.

Read the rest of it here.

From Magruder:

TUCSON — To some, it might go down as a footnote — ASU center Jordan Bachynski took a feed from Marcus Jackson and knocked down a little 12-foot baseline jumper with 14 seconds left for the final basket in Arizona’s 80-69 victory here Saturday.

It could be considered a harbinger.

Read the rest of it here.

He said it

“If they can experience some health, I can really see their best basketball ahead of them.” — Arizona coach Sean Miller, on ASU.

(Of course, if the Devils’ best basketball isn’t ahead of them, this is going to be one looong season.)

By the numbers

52.1 — Shooting percentage by Arizona State, which shot 58.3 percent in the second half. “We struggled to get stops,” Miller said. “We struggled to have great answers defensively. We did a very good job guarding the 3-point shot in the second half; we didn’t in the first half. I thought they really got the ball to the basket much easier in the second half than they did in the first.”

60.0 — Career shooting percentage of Arizona sophomore Derrick Williams (rounded up from 59.95), which is third in school history. He trails Joseph Blair (61.3) and Pete Williams (60.5).

80 — Points scored by Arizona, tying for the most Arizona State has allowed all season.

More from the TucsonCitizen.com Sports Network:

Gimino: It’s the same old happy story for Arizona: Derrick Williams

Morales: Arizona’s greatest challenge lies ahead

Arizona-Arizona State game blog

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