Miller was right, every Arizona Basketball game will be a tough game
Miller has been warning fans, “Every game for the Cats will be a tough game.”
While the Arizona Football team was taking it to the ASU Sun Devils in Tucson, Arizona Basketball was being tested in Vegas in front of only about 3,500 fans and about 25 NBA scouts. Playing three games within five days proved to be an issue for the thin roster, as the Cats fell to Bulter in the Las Vegas Invitational Championship game at Orleans Arena.
Butler (5-0) faced our No. 8 Arizona Basketball (5-0) team in the second game of back-to-back games. That’s what you face in a tournament. Usually, you would think that this wouldn’t be an issue for our Cats, but Arizona is still without one of their high-scoring stars. Allonzo Trier did not show up to take the trip to Vegas.
The first loss of the season for A Players Program was the day we were all foreboding. That day has come and gone as the Wildcats lost to the Butler Bulldogs by four points, 69-65, gulp. The Cats late surge sputtered as they were tuckered out in the second half. It wasn’t a lambasting, but still, Arizona now sits at 5-1 on the season.
- 11/26 – Miller was right, every Arizona Basketball game will be a tough game
- 11/26 – Arizona Football: A Fond Farewell Letter to our Senior Wildcats
- 11/26 – Arizona Football runs over Rival Arizona State to Victory, Territorial Cup in Tucson
- 11/24 – Zona Zealots Staff Breaks down things to be Thankful for as Wildcats fans
- 11/23 – Arizona Football Rivalry Week: Territorial Cup Tweets, sentiment, and thanking our Seniors
Perhaps the layup Butler made at the buzzer before the half was telling, as the Bulldogs were up by two at the half, and stretched it to five towards the end of the game.
It wasn’t supposed to end this way; Arizona Football won, and Arizona Basketball lost all within three hours. If you were watching both, and you were at a bar somewhere like me, it was like watching a tennis match.; I have a neck cramp.
The most surprising thing that happened was both the football team and the basketball team’s halftimes started at exactly the same time. On top of that, the commercials timeouts seemed coordinated as well, much to Wildcats fans demise.
Fans couldn’t catch a break, and A Players Program couldn’t catch a break. The team seemed to play from behind most of the game, and the referees didn’t seem to do the team any favors as well. Fans kept questioning their calls, much more than usual.
Final stats…what could Arizona have done better or differently? pic.twitter.com/be7Hfq8x3g
— ZonaZealots Go Cats! (@ZonaZealots) November 26, 2016
It was the fouls that got to Arizona, with the team’s thin bench, in trouble. Lauri Markkanen seems to have been scoring about 20 some odd points per game, but not last night. Maybe it was the back-to-back games, maybe it was the turkey he tried and didn’t quite like? In any case, his foul trouble kept him off the floor, and he ended up with a respectable, but not-so-normal 15 points.
The spark plug in the Wildcats engine was freshman Kobi Simmons. Simmon’s tried acrobatics to get the ball into the hoop at times, and it worked, but he could not pull out the win alone. We respect the effort. As Miller told Bruce Pascoe, “He was a big reason we had a chance to win the game and why we made our comeback in the second half.”
However, the late surge by Kobi Simmons was not enough to overcome the Butler Bulldogs.
— ZonaZealots Go Cats! (@ZonaZealots) November 25, 2016
The stats ultimately tell the story. The Bulldogs made 40 percent of their 3-pointers (6-15), and the Cats shot a meek 27.3 percent (3-11) on four less shot attempts. The Bulldogs shot 81 percent from the charity stripe, and the Cats only made 77 percent. The Wildcats only lost by five measly points, but a loss is still a loss.
Bottom line, the Cats are a young team with tons of potential. The lack of depth is hurting them down the stretch in these close games. For example, at the end of the Butler game, Kadeem Allen had sweat pouring off his forehead, it was a wonder if he could even see the basket. Then he proceeded to miss two crucial free throws.
Here are some thoughts from fans:
@ZonaZealots Lauri only played 21 minutes. That's the problem.
— Shane R (@STRobertson17) November 26, 2016
@ZonaZealots I don't know about do better but the fouls is a huge concern
— Ben Wagner (@AthleticsBen) November 26, 2016
@ZonaZealots Abysmal 3-point shooting performance, which has been the theme of the season,..
— jack (@JazzzyyJack) November 26, 2016
@ZonaZealots It came down to foul trouble for Markkanen (only played 21 minutes) and Pinder.
— Jason Flores (@jjflopuro4) November 26, 2016
The Wildcats have from today until Tuesday to prepare for a 4-1 Texas Southern team on Wednesday and then No. 11 Gonzaga on Saturday, Dec. 3rd in Los Angeles. It’s not going to get any easier for the Wildcats, but for now they will get some rest and have a chance to regroup. BearDown, Arizona!
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