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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Turnovers and shot selection hurting Arizona hoops

Janice+Biancavilla%2F+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AArizona+Wildcats+defeat+NAU+53-39+on+Dec.+3+at+McKale+Center.+%0ANick+Johnson+13
Janice Biancavilla
Janice Biancavilla/ Daily Wildcat Arizona Wildcats defeat NAU 53-39 on Dec. 3 at McKale Center. Nick Johnson 13

The Wildcats are shooting 35 percent from 3-point range as a team, but on the road against USC and UCLA this past weekend, Arizona’s 3-point shooting was not very good.

“There’s a lot of misses,” head coach Sean Miller said. “Very few teams don’t go through that. There’s always those windows or pockets in a season when those balls don’t go in.”

Miller gave credit to UCLA and USC defenses for keeping Arizona’s shooting percentage down, but also noted problems with the Wildcats’ decision-making when taking the 3-pointer. Arizona shot 5-for-32 from beyond the 3-point line in those two games and had some obvious problem with shot selection.

“We took a few quick, ill-advised threes,” Miller said. “When you do that on the road, it has a funny way of not going in.”

Turnovers keep offense stagnant

Along with the struggles from 3-point range, the Wildcats also turned over the ball 33 times.

The turnovers were such an issue that junior forward Solomon Hill said it was something that could keep Arizona out of the running for the Pac-12 Conference championship.

“I don’t think we really learned from that,” Hill said. “We saw UCLA, we turned the ball over 16 times and then go and do it again against USC.”

Lately, ball security has been an issue with all five members of the starting lineup, who all average almost two turnovers per game. The Wildcats have turned over the ball 48 times in their first three Pac-12 games.

Miller said the team’s problems became evident when he was watching film on Monday.

“Sometimes you press the pause button when you watch it on film and you ask yourself, ‘What in the world is he thinking?’” Miller said. “And we have to get away from those.”

Miller said that ball security would be a point of emphasis this week because of the aggressive nature of the Oregon schools’ defenses.

“They’re really trying to turn you over where as the first three really weren’t,” Miller said.

All signs point to no

Arizona has passed the halfway point in the season, with a goal of making the NCAA tournament still intact. Unfortunately, the experts don’t seem to think the Wildcats will make the tournament.

Joe Lunardi of ESPN’s Bracketology has the Wildcats on the bubble in the “First Four Out” category.

Miller said the Wildcats’ postseason prognosis was “deservedly so.”

“There’s a lot of basketball left to be played,” Miller said. “If you just look back one year ago, could you honestly say we were an automatic to be in the postseason? No.”

Walk-ons bring relief

Arizona added two walk-ons on

Jan. 3, freshman Drew Mellon and redshirt junior Quinton Crawford, for scout team purposes. Miller said the two had been practicing for a couple of weeks and were added after a tryout earlier this season. The addition of players became important after the dismissal of Sidiki Johnson on Dec. 4.

“Not having the full allotment of scholarship players (made the additions important). Replacing those guys with two very capable walk-ons would get the job done,” Miller said.

He added that Mellon and Crawford would be able to not only give other players rest, but also fill empty positions in practice.

“You can’t keep players on the court longer than they need to be on there,” Miller said. “Everybody matters and adding these two guys is a way to accomplish the same thing in a shorter time manner using them to beat the other team.”

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