Arizona Basketball

Three top observations of Arizona Wildcats’ rout over Washington



Arizona's T.J. McConnell drives past two Washington defenders for a basket in the first half (ESPN screen shots)

Arizona’s T.J. McConnell drives past two Washington defenders for a basket in the first half (ESPN screen shots)

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1. T.J. McConnell doesn’t take backseat to any Arizona point guard.

That comment is in terms of how Arizona’s rich tradition of point guards have dominated the opposition. With how he has played since the Pac-12 season started, McConnell belongs among Steve Kerr, Damon Stoudamire, Mike Bibby, Jason Terry and Jason Gardner in that regard.

What those five point guard legends have that McConnell yearns for: A Final Four experience.

Stanley Johnson may be a Wooden Award finalist, because of the nation’s infatuation with marquee five-star freshmen, but he is not even the most valuable player on his own team.

After McConnell recorded a career-best with Arizona scoring 25 points at ASU last week, he notched his first double-double in a Wildcat uniform tonight. McConnell finished with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He could have finished with at least 13 assists but his teammates could not finish open looks.

His career-high in scoring (28 points against St. Joseph’s) and assists (11 against District of Columbia) happened with Duquesne as a sophomore in the 2011-12 season.


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Washington tried to trap McConnell on the perimeter with double-teams, but that actually opened more looks for McConnell to hit the open man. He had only three turnovers in 31 minutes.

2. Floor only thing that stopped Hollis-Jefferson.

The sophomore made 7 of 10 field goals, the same numbers from wing mate Johnson. Arizona is unbeatable when Hollis-Jefferson and Johnson can shoot 70 percent from the field and score a combined 37 points. They also had 17 rebounds. Hollis-Jefferson had two steals. Johnson had two blocked shots.

Hard to believe: Hollis-Jefferson’s 17 points are his most since scoring 19 in the third game of the season against Cal-Irvine. He could have scored two more but slipped on the court on a breakaway dunk attempt in the first half.


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Johnson’s team-high 20 points took place in only 27 minutes, the first 10 of which he went scoreless.

Another perimeter combo — Elliott Pitts and Gabe York — also contributed. They combined for 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field. York was 5-of-6 from the free-throw line and grabbed six rebounds. Pitts had two steals.

3. Don’t tread on Arizona (especially after a loss)

Since getting swept at USC and UCLA in the 2012-13 season, Arizona is 8-0 after a loss over the last two seasons with an average margin of victory at 14.5 points.

Miller is as intense as any coach in the country during a game. Imagine his fire in practice after a loss.

Arizona assistant coach Joe Pasternack commented to KCUB (1290-AM) broadcaster Brian Jeffries after the game that the Wildcats had a “tough week of practice” after the 81-78 loss at ASU.

“We were able to grow as a team and respond after that loss,” Pasternack said.

The Wildcats showed no ill-effects — no pun intended — from reserve center Dusan Ristic staying in Tucson with a bacterial infection. Another top bench player, freshman point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, missed his third consecutive game with a concussion.

Without them, Arizona suited only eight scholarship players, but they looked no worse from the wear from the grind all week in practice. All seven players in the primary rotation logged at least 20 minutes. Matt Korcheck played seven minutes.

Miller’s preparation and execution of “the process”, as he calls it, is a significant reason why he notched his 150th win at Arizona in only his sixth season. He is 150-51. Lute Olson achieved his 150th win in his seventh season in Tucson. He was 150-59. publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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