It’s easy to look at the box score and see that senior point guard Nic Wise shot 3 of 13 from the field, including 1 of 8 from 3-point range against UNLV on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats dropped a 74-72 double-overtime decision, so let’s blame Weis’ shooting … or his shot selection.
That’s not exactly how coach Sean Miller saw it.
“Tonight, we relied really heavily on Nic. Too much so,” Miller said. “I thought, generally, in the second half, we really wore down on offense.”
Wise ended up taking some low-percentage shots, but if he’s not taking the shots, then who is?
Arizona was fine when it was able to feed Derrick Williams in the post — “A monster,” UNLV coach Lon Kruger said of the freshman who scored 28 points — but that was about it for the Cats’ offense.
“I think we have a number of guys who are in unfamiliar territory,” Miller said.
“It was one of the reasons we really depended on Nic a lot in the second half. On certain possessions, that wasn’t necessarily the game plan, that was people deferring. And as you defer, the ball ends up back in his hands at the end of the clock.
“He makes plays. He can’t make every play.”
In the first overtime, Wise missed a 3-pointer and had to force up a shot from behind the backboard as the shot clock was winding down. In the second overtime, he missed a deep 3 and didn’t get off a shot in the final sequence.
He took the ball on the inbounds pass with 5.8 seconds left, dribbled up the right sideline, and cut to the middle, but Justin Hawkins and Tre’Von Willis were there to smother a last-second attempt.
“Some of the shots that Nic is missing he is having to take as a function of lack of confidence or sureness of ability of some of the other guys,” Miller said. “We had, I thought, a couple of opportunities for players to make plays.”
Against UNLV, Wise’s buddies on the perimeter weren’t a lot of help in making those plays.
Freshman wing Solomon Hill was 0-for-5. Sophomore guard Kyle Fogg was 0-for-3 off the bench. Sophomore guard Brendon Lavender was 1-for-5.
Junior forward Jamelle Horne, who made all five of his 3-point attempts against Colorado last week, was 2 of 8 from the field. Freshman guard MoMo Jones, typically aggressive, took 11 shots, but made only four.
At least Wise converted all 12 of his free throws to finish with 19 points.
He’s a senior — the team’s only senior — so he understands his role. But he needs help.
Jones said he had a meeting with Miller after last week’s trip to the Maui Invitational, which helped serve as a confidence-building session. Miller said that is one of a few individual meetings that need to take place.
“I think it is the growth of our team around Nic that will help him the most,” Miller said. Right now, he’s having to do a lot.”
Related links from TucsonCitizen.com:
UA-UNLV game blog