Arizona State’s Jahii Carson split a double team at the three-point line and dribbled hard toward the basket late in the first half. Only one man could stop him: Kevin Parrom.
The Arizona Wildcats senior forward stepped in front and drew a charge with 9.7 seconds left.
That was Carson’s third foul — having just come back into the game for ASU’s offensive possession — a situation that would prove to be problematic defensively for the Sun Devils in the second half.
Carson’s fourth foul with 9:50 to play is identified as the key moment, because after that his defense become non-existent, but Arizona knew what that third foul late in the first half meant.
“If you saw me, I ran over to Kevin and started punching him in the chest,” said sophomore guard Nick Johnson.
“I was really excited. I think that’s the definition of Kevin. That’s what he does for us. He does every single thing for us — the nitty-gritty, offensive rebounding, taking charges, diving on the floor, stuff like that.
“That’s why he is so big to our team.”
Parrom has been a superb sixth man, averaging 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 22.8 minutes per game. He is shooting 51.9 percent from the field, 42.0 percent from 3-point range and 81.5 percent from the free throw line.
And then there is his toughness and all the other stuff, like taking that charge in the win at ASU on Saturday.
“Once Carson picked up his third foul, I thought that was a big turning point in the game,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said.
“It’s tough to be as aggressive when you have three. And when he got his fourth, we really tried to attack that fact. We did that well. It put him in a bad position with our strong drivers, and a lot of those strong drives happened just because he was playing to not commit his fifth foul.”
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Miller improved to 5-2 against Arizona State coach Herb Sendek, his former boss at Miami of Ohio and North Carolina State. Miller is 3-1 vs. the Sun Devils in Tempe.
Neat the end of the game at Wells Fargo Arena, Arizona fans started chanting, “This … is … our … house.”
Said Arizona senior Solomon Hill: “It did feel like McKale North. That’s what everybody calls it.”
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Former Arizona guard Reggie Geary is in his second year coaching the Yokohama B-Corsairs in the Basketball Japan League. He served as an assistant in the league’s All-Star Game on Sunday.
Geary talked to the Japan Times about almost making the NBA All-Star Game festivities when he was a rookie for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1996-97 season.
“I haven’t participated in an All-Star Game since high school really,” said Geary. “The closest I’ve been since then was almost getting in the 1997 NBA All-Star dunk contest my rookie year in Cleveland. We had a team dunk-off to see who would participate and represent the host team and we didn’t have a big-time name who was considered a dunker.
“So we had a contest one day and the team voted I won, but the organization wanted a more recognizable face to represent the team, so they went with third-year pro (and Florida State product) Bob Sura. Funny thing was, Bob was so nervous he missed all his dunks.”
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Arizona leads the Pac-12 in free-throw shooting (76.3 percent) and 3-point accuracy (38.2 percent). The Cats are second in field-goal percentage (46.3), trailing only this Thursday’s opponent, UCLA. The Bruins are shooting 47.6 percent. … Johnson leads the Pac-12 in steals with 2.24 per game. … ASU coach Herb Sendek on Hill: “I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the country. I mean, that guy is so good, so good. He’s inside outside, he makes big plays, big shots, is a tough matchup, he is really a special player.”