Arizona's Kevin Parrom (left) and ASU's Ty Abbott had to be separated in the second half/Photo by Pat Shannahan, The Arizona Republic
Arizona smacked Arizona State 77-58 on Saturday, but it is a specific smack that everyone will be talking about.
That would be Kevin Parrom‘s intentional foul from behind on ASU’s Ty Abbott, who was going up for a fast-break layup in the second half. Parrom ended up giving Abbott a good wallop across the head, preventing the basket, and Abbott responded after the play by trying to get chest-to-chest with the bigger Parrom.
Parrom responded with a little smile that seemed to say, “You want a piece of me?”
Both players ended up drawing technicals, which fouled out Parrom with 8:35 to play.
“I was disappointed that Kevin Parrom had to leave the game because I really think he made a very competitive play with no intent to hurt anybody,” UA coach Sean Miller said on Fox Sports Arizona’s postgame show.
It was a hard foul, and there is nothing wrong with the officials trying to protect players. No argument here about the call, but the thing that really resonates is Parrom’s and Arizona’s reaction.
UA used the emotion boost for a 9-1 run in the next 91 seconds … and no opposing player even had to step on a Wildcat’s face for Arizona to get tough.
Parrom, in particular, gives Arizona a no-nonsense air that has been lacking. Remember, this kid from the Bronx was once committed to Xavier, where Miller built successful teams around guys just like Parrom.
For sure, it’s going to take a lot more than Ty Abbott to intimidate Kevin Parrom.
*** ASU coach Herb Sendek is 5-0 against Arizona interim head coaches. He is a combined 0-3 against UA’s Lute Olson and Miller.
*** Which team had a worst game than ASU? The Fox Sports Arizona production crew.
FSA came back late from commercial breaks and had technical hiccups, including a painful pregame interview with dueling student beat writers because an earpiece wasn’t working. The live chat on FoxSportsArizona.com, featuring ex-Cat Joseph Blair and ex-Devil Kyle Dodd, was entertaining, however, as both guys were lively and appropriately partisan.
Dodd late in the second half as the Cats extended their lead: “This isn’t fun anymore.”
*** Even during the five-game losing streak to ASU, Arizona did a nice job of stopping the shooters of the Sun Devils. ASU was only 32 of 108 behind the arc during the winning streak, 29.6 percent. Nothing changed Saturday night as UA held the Devils to 31 percent (9 of 29) from 3-point range.
“It is one of the things we have really done well from start to finish this year,” Miller said, noting the exception of the BYU game. “Today, we were more of the same.”
Arizona is allowing opponents to shoot just 30.5 percent from beyond the arc.
*** Anybody seen Eric Boateng?
*** I almost never think a Jamelle Horne 3-point shot is going in, but dropped in three rainbows in the second half and finished with 11 points. Horne, sidelined briefly early because he turned his ankle, was nearly invisible in the first half.
“I thought Jamelle Horne was a big factor in us really pulling away in the second half,” Miller said on Fox Sports Arizona’s postgame show. “For whatever reason, he didn’t get off to a good start — and to his credit; it’s the hardest thing to do as a player — he recharged after halftime.
“I thought his play and just his presence really helped us.”
Horne is now shooting 45.6 percent from the 3-point range (36 of 79).
*** Miller has talked about the Wildcats had a great chance to be much better at the end of the season because he expected his young team to grow up and because seven of the last 11 regular-season games are at home.
That stretch starts Thursday against Stanford.
“Just because it’s a home game doesn’t all of a sudden mean — especially with our team and some of the inconsistencies we’ve experienced — that it’s going to be a win,” Miller said on his radio postgame interview on 1290-AM.
“But, nonetheless, playing at McKale is an advantage. We have to feel that way. We have to continue to work hard and grow. And if we do, we have all the makings of a good finish.”
If Arizona plays with the same intensity on defense as it did Saturday night — and that still has to be considered a big if — the next seven weeks will be very interesting.
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