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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Injuries continue to derail Wildcats’ season

Arizona+guard+Allonzo+Trier+%2811%29+looks+on+incredulously+as+a+foul+is+called+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+9+in+Los+Angeles.+Miller+spoke+with+the+media+Tuesday+about+upcoming+games+without+Trier+and+who+can+potentially+replace+him+in+the+starting+lineup.+
Rebecca Noble
Arizona guard Allonzo Trier (11) looks on incredulously as a foul is called on Saturday, Jan. 9 in Los Angeles. Miller spoke with the media Tuesday about upcoming games without Trier and who can potentially replace him in the starting lineup.

It wasn’t expected for the Arizona men’s basketball team to leave Los Angeles empty-handed this weekend just before the start of the spring semester.

Things appeared to have finally hit full stride with the return of Kaleb Tarczewski into the starting lineup and the team having won eight consecutive games after a loss to Providence.

Even the loss to the Friars didn’t seem as bad, considering Providence has Kriss Dunn, arguably the best guard in the country. Arizona’s first Pac-12 Conference road trip outside of Arizona would come to show where the Wildcats stand.

For the first time since 2013 the Wildcats were swept in the City of Angels, losing to UCLA after the coach’s son, Bryce Alford, nailed a three-pointer in the closing seconds of the game, along with a quadruple overtime thriller in a roller-coaster fashion.

Arizona stumbled out of the top-10 and dropped to No. 18 in the Associated Press Top-25 rankings. The Wildcats also toppled down to eighth in the Pac-12 standings with a 1-2 conference record.

The bad news just kept adding up on top of the forgettable weekend for head coach Sean Miller after receiving news on Sunday that freshman guard Allonzo Trier would be out four to six weeks with a broken hand.

“He will return at some point. I don’t know if it’s going to be six weeks worst case scenario or maybe even sooner than four, which would be the best,” Miller said in Tuesday’s press conference. “We can’t control that other than just keeping his mindset and keeping him engaged the best way we can.”

Trier broke his fourth metacarpal on his shooting hand. His injury can potentially damage the Wildcats considering the freshman is Arizona’s leading scorer, averaging 14.8 points per game and with 25 points against USC.

“He’s got full range of motion and movement everywhere else and with conditioning, we can keep him,” Miller said. “From what I understand he might actually even be cleared to resume catching and shooting prior to him returning to action. If that’s the case then that would happen in a couple of weeks, so whenever he comes back it won’t be like Kaleb [Tarczewski] where he’s truly been out for five weeks. Although he’s been out, he’s been able to stay engaged in running and I think that’ll help him with his transition to play.”

Miller also added that Trier might have suffered the injury playing defense in the first overtime period. According to guard Kadeem Allen, Trier came to Miller about his hand, but kept him in the game.

“He came back to the huddle and he said he broke his hand and coach Miller is a tough coach and he pushes us and if you’re hurt, he just looks at you like ‘Are you alright?’ and just keep playing,” Allen said. “He fought through it and he’s a tough kid so he got a lot of respect for that.”

With injuries to wingmen Trier and Ray Smith, plus Elliott Pitts out for personal reasons, the small forward position is depleted.

For the first time in a long time at Arizona, Miller is forced to play small ball with potentially shifting Allen from point guard to small forward.

“I would say the two and the three mostly the same,” Allen said. “I feel more comfortable now playing the point guard position and playing in a system was hard for me at first and with coach Miller teaching me with me learning, it came natural to me.”

The Wildcats will rely on the home court advantage of McKale Center as they return home this week hosting Washington (11-4, 3-0) on Thursday and Washington State (9-6, 1-2) on Saturday.

Arizona’s 47-game home winning streak is in jeopardy as Washington has the conference’s leading scorer in Andrew Andrews, who averages 21.6 points per game.

Tipoff for Washington is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday back in McKale Center.

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