Arizona Basketball

Arizona gets through its struggles with one of its most balanced teams in program’s history

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G: Games played. S: Number of starts.
BP: Bench points. A player gets three points if he is first off the bench, two if second and one if third. Shows Sean Miller’s rotation.
UT: Productivity points against Utah
UMIN: Minutes played against Utah
PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
TMIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)
NOTE: Player must average at least 10 minutes a game to be listed in primary rotation

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Brandon Ashley, benched in favor of senior Kevin Parrom, provided a spark to the Wildcats against Utah

Brandon Ashley, benched in favor of senior Kevin Parrom, provided a spark for the Wildcats against Utah

Arizona played in typical fashion, going through a stretch of bad basketball that allowed Utah to rally back from a 13-point deficit, but the Wildcats managed to overcome their deficiencies once again Sunday with a 68-64 win.

This is like Back to the Future on TBS. We’ve seen this movie a hundred times, but we always tune in to watch Marty McFly work his way out of problems again and again.

The Wildcats have endured poor starts, second-half breakdowns, turnovers, cold shooting, scoring droughts, lineup changes, narrow victories, freshmen lapses, player slumps and home losses. Somehow the Basketball Gods have graced them with 21 victories in their first 25 games.

A significant reason why Arizona is 21-4: The Wildcats are as balanced as any team the program has produced. On any given game, the UA’s top five players — Solomon Hill, Mark Lyons, Nick Johnson, Kevin Parrom and Brandon Ashley — can lead the team to a victory (or more appropriately get them through a rut).

Angelo Chol, the No. 9 player in the rotation, had the most productive game against Colorado on Thursday and we’re almost at the end of the regular season. That’s how resourceful the Wildcats can be for Sean Miller, although many may argue that’s an indication of Arizona’s inconsistency.

Ashley, benched in favor of the more experienced Parrom against Utah, responded by having the most productive game for the Wildcats. He produced 18 productivity points in 22 minutes, providing Arizona the spark it needed. Productivity points, published at this site, factor positive stats (made field goals, assists, etc.) subtracted by negative stats (missed field goals, turnovers, etc.).

Kevin Parrom almost posted his first double-double of his career in Arizona's win over Utah

Kevin Parrom almost posted his first double-double of his career in Arizona’s win over Utah

“If I come off the bench and I only play five minutes a game, I’m still going to come in and show my best and impact the game in whatever ways I can, whether it’s scoring, rebounding or just playing defense,” Ashley was quoted by saying by the Associated Press after the game.

Parrom responded with his second start of the season by almost posting his first career double-double (nine rebounds and nine points in 29 minutes). The senior forward finished with 20 productivity points.

“We’re at the end of the road here,” Miller told the AP about starting Parrom. “He’s a senior and we’re going to ride the guys who have the most to gain and the most to lose. Lyons, Hill and Parrom – they’re the guys to me who can start the game the best way and start the second half the best way.”

They are among the nucleus of Wildcats who can also produce when called upon.

This is how balanced Arizona’s top five players stand: Hill leads the team with a .620 productivity rating (productivity points divided by minutes played) and Parrom is No. 5 at .587. Only 33 productivity rating points separate the top player from the No. 5 player. That’s uncommon. Seven different players have led the Wildcats in productivity rating in the 25 games. Ashley and Lyons have each topped the UA six times, Hill and Parrom four, and Johnson three.

This is a far cry the Derrick Williams-dominated Arizona team from only two years ago. The UA was fortunate he could play through a broken finger and carry it to an Elite Eight appearance.

Ashley also led a strong showing by a freshmen group that has played predictably unpredictable because of their youth. Ashley, starting center Kaleb Tarczewski and reserve forward Grant Jerrett combined for 41 productivity points in 52 minutes (a .788 rating) against Utah.

“Brandon was our best freshman today,” Miller told the AP. “He was our best frontcourt player today. Brandon answered the bell.

“For our team, it’s a matter of where we go from here. We are happy with the win but we have to get better as we move forward if we want to accomplish something special in March.”

Thanks to the 17 rebounds by Hill and Parrom the Wildcats won the rebounding battle 34-32. Utah center Jason Washburn had only seven after grabbing 11 last month in Utah’s loss at McKale Center.

Defensive Rebounding Percentage (DRB%): Determined by dividing Arizona’s defensive rebounds (23 against Utah) by the opposition’s offensive rebounds (Utah had 11) added to Arizona’s defensive rebounds (23) — 23/(11 + 23) = 67.6 percent.

Offensive Rebounding Percentage (ORB%): Determined by taking Arizona’s offensive rebound total (11) divided by that total (11) and the defensive rebounds of the opponent (21 for Utah) — 11/(11 + 21) = 34.4 percent.

Ideal marks are 72 percent DRB% and 38 percent ORB%.

NEXT UP: Washington at Arizona, Feb. 20
Arizona 68, Utah 64
— Brandon Ashley 18 PP/22 MIN
Colorado 71, Arizona 58
— Angelo Chol 14 PP/20 MIN
California 77, Arizona 69
— Brandon Ashley 21 PP/29 MIN
Arizona 73, Stanford 66
— Mark Lyons 41 PP/36 MIN
Arizona 79, Washington State 65
— Mark Lyons 22 PP/23 MIN
Arizona 57, Washington 53
— Nick Johnson 26 PP/34 MIN
Arizona 74, USC 50
— Solomon Hill 22 PP/24 MIN
UCLA 84, Arizona 73
— Nick Johnson 29 PP/33 MIN
Arizona 71, Arizona State 54
— Mark Lyons 34 PP/31 MIN
Arizona 80, Oregon State 70
— Brandon Ashley 19 PP/22 MIN
Oregon 70, Arizona 66
— Mark Lyons 24 PP/37 MIN
Arizona 60, Utah 57
— Solomon Hill 29 PP/35 MIN
Arizona 92, Colorado 83 (OT)
— Kevin Parrom 28 PP/34 MIN
Arizona 68, San Diego State 67
— Kevin Parrom 28 PP/26 MIN
Arizona 69, Miami 50
— Kevin Parrom 21 PP/21 MIN
Arizona 73, East Tennessee State 53
— Brandon Ashley 27 PP/22 MIN
Arizona 89, Oral Roberts 64
— Grant Jerrett 24 PP/21 MIN
Arizona 65, Florida 64
— Solomon Hill 31 PP/37 MIN
Arizona 66, Clemson 54
— Mark Lyons 30 PP/33 MIN
Arizona 63, Southern Mississippi 55
— Kevin Parrom 19 PP/30 MIN
Arizona 85, Texas Tech 57
— Solomon Hill 26 PP/26 MIN
Arizona 93, NAU 50
— Nick Johnson 27 PP/22 MIN
Arizona 94, Long Beach State 72
— Brandon Ashley 40 PP/24 MIN
Arizona 72, UTEP 51
— Mark Lyons 21 PP/25 MIN
Arizona 82, Charleston Southern 73
— Brandon Ashley 26 PP/24 MIN

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Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner


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