UA notebook: Miller stressing ball security
Arizona coach Sean Miller ranted earlier this week about his team committing too many turnovers. He's not about to let up.
The Wildcats were better in that regard at Utah on Thursday night, winning 77-51 in Salt Lake City while committing nine turnovers -- only three in the second half. They had been averaging 15.2 turnovers through five conference games.
But, frankly, Utah isn't a very good team, and Miller expects more of a challenge Saturday at Colorado, which is 10-1 at home, including a victory over Arizona State on Thursday night.
Arizona is undersized, so Miller has been preaching efficiency -- which includes free-throw shooting -- as a way to overcome the inability to get easy post-up baskets.
"On the road at Colorado, we're going to have to play with 12 or fewer turnovers, and we're going to have to get to the line and make them," Miller said. "That's part of the makeup of our team. When we don't have those two elements to what we're doing, we're very vulnerable."
The Wildcats' small frontcourt -- which features 6-foot-7 Jesse Perry at
center -- will have a tough matchup against Buffs forward Andre
Roberson, who earned his Pac-12-best 11th double-double against Arizona
State. In fact, he's averaging a double-double for the season.
The Buffaloes' first option is guard Carlon Brown, but
they present a balanced attack and have gotten contributions
recently from senior forward Austin Dufault, a surprisingly effective 3-point
Arizona (13-6 overall, 4-2 Pac-12) could use a road sweep to help atone for the home loss to Oregon on Jan. 14. Colorado is 12-6 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-12.
-- The spotlight will shine even more brightly Saturday on forward Solomon Hill, who was ejected with 18:14 to go against Utah
because of a flagrant foul in which he threw a forearm to the back of
Cedric Martin's head.
Coach Sean Miller said after the game that he
didn't see the play and needed to watch the game film before commenting,
but he added: "I just know that Solomon, as a kid, is a great kid. Sometimes
things happen in the heat of the battle."
Hill entered the game leading
the team in scoring (12.1 points per game), rebounding (8.1) and
assists (3.1). The Wildcats didn't need him against Utah but likely will need the
usual 30-plus minutes at Colorado.
-- Arizona's loss to Oregon on Jan. 14 was its first conference defeat at McKale Center since a 73-69 loss to rival Arizona State on Feb. 21, 2010.
-- Down by 17 points in the second half, Arizona rallied and actually led 56-54 against Oregon before succumbing.
-- The Wildcats went 12 for 22 from the 3-point line in their 81-73 overtime win at Oregon State, then were 7 for 17 in the loss to Oregon.
BY THE NUMBERS: 26.9 percent -- Shooting percentage of Arizona's three starting guards -- Kyle Fogg, Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner -- in the 59-57 home loss to Oregon.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm just tired of getting beaten in my own gym. They beat us in every aspect of the game. I just got tired of it. I tried to make plays, just go out there and play basketball." -- Arizona junior F Solomon Hill, after the loss to Oregon.
-- Freshman PG Josiah Turner hasn't taken college basketball by storm as some had predicted, but he has made steady progress after a shaky start. He had 10 points, two assists, two steals and just one turnover in 25 minutes at Utah.
More than that, coach Sean Miller said he likes what he's seeing on the other end of the court. "He's a far cry from the defender we had out there, let's say, four to six weeks ago," Miller said.
-- Junior F Kevin Parrom had one of his best games of the season at Utah, seeing expanded time because of the second-half ejection of Solomon Hill. Parrom, who hasn't been 100 percent because of a Sept. 24 shooting that injured his lower left leg, had 12 points and went 3 for 5 from 3-point range.