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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Momo crashes boards

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Wildcats scorched the Oregon Ducks 70-57 Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010 at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. Former Arizona Wildcat and current New York Knick Jordan Hill was in attendance.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Wildcats scorched the Oregon Ducks 70-57 Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010 at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. Former Arizona Wildcat and current New York Knick Jordan Hill was in attendance.

His confidence comes standard and swagger always struts. As usual, Momo Jones talked with Sean Miller a few days ago for another heart-to-heart examining the heart of Arizona’s all-heart freshman.

“”I said, Momo, you can’t keep telling everyone you’re from New York. They know that,”” Miller said. “”When you remind them for the 57th time, they’re going to look at you and say ‘we’ve heard that 56 times.'””

“”What he really means is nothing’s ever given to him,”” he added. “”He’s had to earn it. He’s now doing it at Arizona and feels good about it.”” And that’s exactly what he did last night: Earn it.

The transition from high school to college basketball didn’t come naturally to Jones, now asked to play both the point and shooting guard.

But now the Harlem, N.Y., native understands and accepts his role on the floor and has evolved into the first man off a deep bench.

Jones earned all-around kudos in Thursday’s 70-57 win with his team-high six rebounds.

“”I probably need to just be much more positive in describing him to you guys,”” Miller said. “”It’s not easy to do what he’s done having the hard time adjusting to his role in college.””

When asked whether he’d ever had a rebound like that, Momo had a one-word answer.

“”Yup,”” he said and paused, prompting a laugh.

“”Just being tough-nosed, being physical,”” Jones said, “”I wasn’t supposed to be down but it was a couple of rebounds I felt I could get. That’s what a winning team does, they just go out rebound and play hard.””

“”When you’re playing hard, it just comes,”” he added. “”I think you can be the littlest dude on the court, if you just have the mindset where I’m just going to play hard, you can go out there and get some rebounds.””

Jones muscled two put-back baskets under the rim, adding to his 11 points in 21 minutes.

But when asked about the team as a whole, bouncing back from a two-game losing streak, Jones said he wants to do it for Nic Wise.

“”Nic’s been like a big brother to me. If I can do anything to help him go out with a bang, that’s what I’m going to do,”” Jones said. “”It’s a situation where these next four games, this is Nic’s last home games. Last time as an Arizona Wildcat and we just want to make it the best for him.””

Play of the game:

Derrick Williams once again made a huge difference, leading the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding. Williams’ 20 points mostly came off high percentage shots from effective frontcourt-backcourt ball movement.

Williams went 8-for-10 from the floor, adding to Arizona’s 28 total points in the paint and 11 of his 15 second-half baskets were either dunks or layups.

“”Yeah, that was the name of the game coming in. We knew they were playing a lot of zone, so you’re not going to beat that going one on one,”” UA point guard Nic Wise said. “”It showed up big for us tonight.””

A search for point:

Nic Wise struggled from the field — he shot 4-for-12 — but did contribute in other ways, recording four rebounds, three steals and two assists. Wise came off a difficult two-game stretch against the Washington schools, in which he went 4-for-17 from the floor against Washington.

When it was over:

More quick ball movement — a staple of Arizona’s 40 minutes — handed Solomon Hill a dunk to put Arizona up 68-52 with less than five minutes remaining.

“”Oregon tends to extend both in their man to man and their zone,”” Miller said. “”When the ball gets in there, you can finish.””

Coach’s homecoming:

Ex-UA associate head coach Mike Dunlap returned to McKale Center for the first time after his defense led the Wildcats to a 2009 Sweet Sixteen berth.

The Ducks began and ended the second half with a very familiar

2-2-1 full-court press, but also mixed man-to-man defense with Dunlap’s signature 1-1-3 zone to which he stayed loyal last season. Dunlap gave hugs to all his former players after the game.

Homecoming, Part II:

Ex-Wildcat Jordan Hill was in attendance last night. Hill, drafted No. 8 overall to the New York Knicks this summer, was on break for All-Star weekend and received an ovation in the second half when shown on the JumboTron.

Quote of the night:

“”Our free throw defense was excellent tonight as well,”” Miller said of the Ducks shooting just 53 percent from the charity stripe.

 

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