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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


M-basketball: Arizona scared by Titans

A few taps on the shoulder weren’t enough to wake the Arizona men’s basketball team up Wednesday against the Cal State Fullerton Titans.

Rather, it needed a scare to rise from a sloppy and lackadaisical slumber.

“”We were fat and happy,”” said head coach Sean Miller, displeased by his team’s effort. “”We came into the game with that demeanor of, ‘We’re going to win by 20 points.'””

Cal State Fullerton quietly remained in contact all game at McKale Center. But from the eight-minute mark to the buzzer, the Wildcats (8-1) made enough plays down the stretch to win 73-62 behind the effort of forwards Derrick Williams and Kevin Parrom.

Scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, Williams was held in check for the majority of the game but scored 11 points after the UA lead had dwindled to five points with less than 12 minutes to play. Parrom scored 12 points off the bench and led the team with four assists.

Point guard Momo Jones said Parrom played like the Parrom he knew growing up.

“”When I say Kev (Parrom) growing up, I mean just aggressive,”” Jones said. “”Whether he knew what he was doing or not, he played hard.””

Williams played — for the final eight minutes — like he had all year.

“”I think people feed off of me and how I play,”” Williams said. “”Just the first half, I didn’t come to play.””

After a first half, where each team shot 40 percent or below and committed nine turnovers each, the Wildcat’s 10-point, 34-24, half-time lead would hold. At least, it would hold for 12minutes.

Then it was a matter if it would hold at all.

Cutting the lead to seven with 11:53 after Titan center Jer’Vaughn Johnson hit a jumper, Miller called a timeout. After the inbounds, Jones threw the the ball into the scorer’s table, a telling play of his zero assist, four turnover evening.

But it wasn’t only Jones who struggled.

Miller said he saw similar effort from his Wildcats that he did at times last year, when BYU’s Jimmer Fredette scored 49 points in McKale Center. The Wildcats play on BYU Saturday, but Miller dispelled the notion that his team would overlook CSF.

“”We haven’t done anything to look beyond one game on our schedule,”” Miller said bluntly.

Titan guard Devon Peltier and forward Orane Chin led their team with 19 and 14 points, respectively. As each team played cleaner second halves than their first halves, the duo helped the Titans shoot 58 percent in the second frame to give Arizona a scare.

Parrom’s performance was perhaps the silver lining of a sloppy first half. He scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds by the intermission break.

Fullerton’s defense, a game-long mix between a man-to-man and a 2-3, stalled Arizona and brought the game to 18-13 with just more than eight minutes left in the half. That was before Williams scored his first points at the foul line with 8:10 remaining in the half.

“”(We) just have to be patient,”” Jones said of the offense in the first half compared to the second. “”Just pick our spots.””

Miller said the win was a credit to his bench availability and Cal State Fullerton, but hardly a credit to his team’s demeanor. Now, his job is to regroup the Wildcats before they take on Fredette in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“”The season grows,”” he said. “”It picks on the weak-minded.””


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