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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Hoops hosts Oregon State, looks to clean up offense

Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat No. 44 Solomon Hill goes up for a basket during last month’s game against Oakland.

Arizona’s turnovers in Los Angeles weren’t pretty for head coach Sean Miller, and ball security is going to be a priority for the Wildcats when they host Oregon State tonight at 6:30 in McKale Center.

“On the heels of our turnovers in L.A., if we can take care of the ball, that would be a huge stat toward us beating Oregon State,” Miller said on Monday.

The Beavers (11-5, 1-3) lead the Pac-12 in steals and blocks, averaging 10 steals and five blocks per game. And while the Wildcats (11-5, 2-1) struggle with taking care of the ball, OSU has made forcing turnovers a point of emphasis. Opponents average 18.6 turnovers per game against the Beavers.

“They push the ball, they have a number of players that are versatile that can score. They use their defense to create scoring opportunities,” Miller said. “Their defense is always predicated on trying to turn you over and being aggressive, and that’s something we have to do a really good job.”

Oregon State’s man defense is playing “faster” according to junior forward Solomon Hill, but it’s the occasional 1-3-1-zone look on defense that Hill said Arizona was worried about.

“My first year it was a disaster,” Hill said. “Getting these (freshmen) … to really understand it in a short amount of time has to work. They can always throw it on you. You never want to be unprepared for something like that.”

The Beavers lead the conference in multiple offensive categories including field goal percentage (49 percent), scoring offense (84.4 points per game), and are outscoring their opponents by the largest margin in the Pac-12 ( 13).

Junior Jared Cunningham leads the conference in scoring, but he’s not the only offensive threat. The Beavers average five players in double figures and use 6-foot-7 forward Joe Burton and 6-foot-8 forward Devon Collier to run their offense.

“He’s really a big guy that has great hands,” Miller said of Burton. “He can really catch anything. He’s a clever passer and makes their team tough to guard because very seldom do you have big guys that can pass the way he does.

“He’s passing to players that can shoot the ball,” Miller continued. “They have a lot of fire power. They’re an explosive team.”

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