Making Wise decisions

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Alan Walsh

Alan Walsh/Arizona Daily Wildcat

Bryan Roy

Any coach from Nic Wise’s previous three seasons would’ve taken a 19-point performance as a breakthrough game for the 5-foot-10 point guard.

Not Sean Miller. Not under these circumstances, which continue to change by the week.

“”Tonight, we relied really heavily on Nic,”” UA head basketball coach Sean Miller said. “”Too much so.””

Arizona will travel to Norman, Okla., to play the Oklahoma Sooners this Sunday at 5 p.m. Tucson time. There, the senior point guard will hope for more contributions from his teammates in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.

Wise recorded six assists and seven rebounds in Wednesday night’s double-overtime loss to University of Nevada-Las Vegas, but those stats were overshadowed by a poor shooting performance.

Wise went 3-for-13 from the floor, forcing shots that could’ve been distributed to his teammates.

Aside from a 28-point breakout performance from freshman Derrick Williams, no other Wildcat scored more than nine points: Solomon Hill and Kyle Fogg didn’t score a point in 58 combined minutes.

Jamelle Horne only scored four points.

“”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.

“”I think it is the growth of our team around Nic that will help him the most,”” he added. “”Right now, he’s having to do a lot.””

Arizona struggled to run half-court offensive sets against UNLV’s revolving man-to-man defense.

As the Rebels switched matchups, the Wildcats relied on a more freelance style of offense which often left the ball stuck in Wise’s hands.

“”It was one of the reasons we really depended on Nic a lot in the second half,”” Miller said. “”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.””

Wise’s backup, freshman Momo Jones, has also seen frustrating moments early in the season. The combo guard scored 13 combined points in a three-game trip to Maui where the Wildcats went 1-2.

Jones finished the UNLV game with nine points in a performance Miller called “”his best game”” of the season.

Jones agreed.

“”After talking to coach Miller last night, I think I came out and played great,”” Jones said. “”I didn’t have the greatest offensive game, but I thought I came out exceptionally well on defense.””

That talk with Miller came at the right time to clear Jones’ head.

As a guy that normally picks things up quickly, he said, it’s frustrating for him not to see immediate success.

It’s about being patient. It’s about something bigger.

Jones called his his mother and younger sister and heard them say something along the lines of “”you’re not playing very good,”” he said.

“”I just had to hear that to really understand that,”” he added. “”I was just skeptical about things I was doing. Trying to figure my way. Worried about too many things. I think I was so caught up in the moment, not worry about the big picture and little things as a person that makes my team better.

“”For me to come in and be a freshman all over again and start new things I’m not picking up is kinda frustrating.””