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The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona Wildcats fall to San Diego State in first home loss in more than a year

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Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat The San Diego State Aztecs silenced McKale Center with a 61-57 victory over the Arizona Wildcats on Wednesday, November 23, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz.

The Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball suffered its first home loss in more than a year, falling to San Diego State 61-57 on Wednesday. The Wildcats had won the previous 22 games at McKale Center.

“Home court streak is everything,” head coach Sean Miller said. “Now our objective is to start up a new streak.”

In a game that was much like Arizona’s game against Mississippi State, the Wildcats could not convert on offense down the stretch and did not lead at any point in the game. Arizona clawed back into the game twice, but never got over the hump.

“It’s hard for a team to make two big runs in a game. We made the first one and then for the second half they came out and punched us again,” freshman Nick Johnson said.

SDSU always kept the Wildcats at bay, partially due to its shooting from beyond the arc. The Aztecs shot 45 percent from the field and nearly 67 percent from beyond the arc and had two players in double figures. Junior guard Chase Tapley, the Aztec’s leading scorer, had 17 points and hit three 3-pointers.

The Wildcats started the game cold, shooting only 4-for-13 at the 10-minute mark. With 15:05 left in the first half, Arizona was already down 16-2, forcing head coach Sean Miller called a full timeout. A late rally led by junior Solomon Hill helped the Wildcats climb back in the game by shutting down SDSU’s second chance scoring. The Aztecs did not score in the final three minutes of the half. The Wildcats closed the gap to just two points at halftime.

“For most of the first half, we really climbed that mountain and climbed well,” Miller said. “I had a very good feeling at half time.”

In the second half, the Aztecs once again built a lead as big as 13 points. Every time the Wildcats got some momentum going, SDSU answered.

“Offensive it wasn’t our night,” Miller said. “Defensively when we needed the big stop they scored and they executed.”

Arizona once again closed the gap, coming as close as three points with 14 minutes left in the game, but the Aztecs always came up with the shot.

“It is definitely tiring. It kills all our energy,” said Jesse Perry who nearly notched another double double. “At halftime we came back slow, it was hard.”

The Wildcats rallied at the end of the game fueled by a Nick Johnson dunk, but it turned out to be more of a consolation prize for fans that stayed throughout the entire game.
Hill was Arizona’s leading scorer with 10 points and the half, and finished with 14 points in the game.

Arizona got major help from its bench with 27 points, including Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson’s 10 points each. Miller said that this game was the best he’s seen Turner play as a Wildcat.
Arizona’s next game is on Nov. 29 at New Mexico State.

And 1: Sidiki Johnson’s return to the team doubtful

Sean Miller said that Sidiki Johnson is stills suspended indefinitely and it doesn’t look like he will be reinstated soon.
We have an agreement and if he meets the agreement he could potentially be reinstated.

When asked if he was optimistic that Sidiki Johnson would meet the requirements of the agreement, Miller said, “no.”

Miller also confirmed that Sidiki Johnson has not returned to Arizona. Miller said that he would probably return this weekend. Miller said that his status would be determined “in the next couple of weeks.”

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