Arizona Basketball

Nick Johnson leads balanced Arizona Wildcats attack against Fairleigh Dickinson

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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)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)


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Nick Johnson led Arizona in productivity for the second consecutive game

Nick Johnson led Arizona in productivity for the second consecutive game

This is the Arizona Wildcats’ young season in a nutshell: Gabe York, walk-on guard Jacob Hazzard and freshman reserve forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson were the three players the school presented to the media after last night’s 100-50 NIT Season Tip-Off win over Fairleigh Dickinson.

Those three Arizona Wildcats were non-existent to the program last year. When they sat before the media at about 11:30 p.m. last night at McKale Center, nobody gave it a second thought. They belong. This is a team in every sense of the word.

The coach who is leading this feel-good experience is Sean Miller, who celebrated his 100th victory with the Arizona Wildcats with athletic director Greg Byrne handing the coach the game ball afterward.

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“I just like to have fun and play basketball,” Hollis-Jefferson told the reporters. “When you’re having fun out there, everything’s easier, so it’s really easy with these guys.”

The top players of the game were York, who had his best game with the Arizona Wildcats with a productivity rating of 1.474, Nick Johnson (team-high 1.500 productivity rating), Hollis-Jefferson (1.444) and sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski (1.368).

Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell had a breakout game for the Arizona Wildcats, his best of the season, with a productivity rating of .818. Contributing to that figure was nine assists and only one turnover in only 22 minutes.


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T.J. McConnell has 29 assists with only seven turnovers in Arizona's first four games

T.J. McConnell has 29 assists with only seven turnovers in Arizona’s first four games

In the last two games, McConnell has equaled or topped the opposition’s assist total. He matched San Diego State’s total of six assists Friday in a 69-60 victory and had three more than Fairleigh Dickinson’s assists last night.

Arizona had 19 assists and only five turnovers against the Knights, who had 11 turnovers compared to their six assists. San Diego State and Fairleigh Dickinson combined for only 12 assists with 20 turnovers against the Wildcats.

“To play a game with only five turnovers is outstanding,” Miller said in the postgame press conference. “We made great decisions. That’s a great sign early in the year.”

Rhode Island (3-1) vs. No. 5 Arizona Wildcats (4-0)
9 p.m. (Tucson time), Tuesday
Quick notes:

— With a win over Rhode Island, the Wildcats would advance to play at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 27 in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals against either Rutgers or Drexel, which meet Tuesday.
— The Rams have lost 25 straight games to Top 25 opponents since beating No. 21 Utah on Dec. 2, 1998. They have dropped 13 consecutive road games to ranked teams since knocking off No. 18 Massachusetts on Feb. 18, 1998.
Sean Miller and T.J. McConnell competed against Rhode Island as part of the Atlantic 10 while at Xavier and Duquesne, respectively.

Other noteworthy elements from Monday night’s game:

— Freshman sensation Aaron Gordon notched his third double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

— Nick Johnson, who had three blocked shots against Fairleigh Dickinson, leads Arizona with 16 points a game while shooting 59 percent from the field.

— York scored a career-high 20 points off the bench while hitting 8 of 11 field-goal attempts.

— Arizona held a 55-24 rebounding edge and has a plus-67 margin on the season. The Wildcats had 20 offensive boards and shot 54.4 percent from the field.


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[table “” not found /] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and


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