Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Productivity Report: Displaying historic defensive performance


According to research from the Arizona Wildcats media relations department, Sean Miller’s team is the program’s first since the 1950-51 team to open the season this long without allowing an opponent 70 or more points.

The Wildcats are at 16 games without allowing an opponent to reach the 70-point plateau with Colorado visiting McKale Center tonight at 7:36 p.m., Tucson time (Pac-12 Network).

Fred A. Enke Sr.’s team 66 years ago held their first 28 opponents to 69 or fewer points. The Wildcats went on to allow only one opponent in 30 games that season to reach 70 points.

That came in the 29th game of the season in the opening round of the prestigious (at the time) National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York. Dayton defeated Arizona 74-69 in that game on March, 13, 1951.

Dayton center Don “Monk” Meineke scored half of the Flyers’ points (37) as Arizona didn’t have an answer defensively against him.

Arizona’s 24-6 season — in which it finished ranked No. 12 in the AP poll — came to an end in the opening round of the NCAA tournament the following week in a 61-59 loss to Kansas State at Kansas City, Mo.

This year’s team is the third in program history to hold opponents to under the 70-point mark at least 10 games into the season, joining two other Miller teams: 2013-14 and 2014-15.

The 2013-14 team with Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon did not allow 70 points until the 11th game in a 72-70 win at Michigan on Dec. 14, 2013.

The 2014-15 team with T.J. McConnell, Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson went through the first 12 games without allowing 70 points until UNLV beat the Wildcats 71-67 on Dec. 23, 2014, in Las Vegas.

In case you are wondering, in the Lute Olson era, the longest opening streak of not allowing at least 70 points is five games in 1999-2000. Olson’s teams generally played at a different pace, however, than Miller’s teams which it makes it more conducive for Miller’s teams to have a longer such streak.

Arizona is 10th nationally allowing 60.1 points a game. The Wildcats have allowed opponents to score an average of only 57.8 points in McKale Center this season.

The Wildcats rank 19th allowing opponents to shoot 41 percent from the field. They rank No. 13 allowing opponents to shoot only 27.1 percent from 3-point range.

Selfless reserve forward Keanu Pinder has almost as many blocked shots — team-high 16 — as field goals made (19).

Senior captain Kadeem Allen leads the Wildcats with most blocked shots (10) and steals (21) combined with 31.

Dusan Ristic, known mostly for his offensive prowess shooting 73.3 percent in the three Pac-12 games to date, is fourth on the team in the blocked shots-steals combination with 17 (10 blocked shots and seven steals).

Ahead of him are Allen, Pinder with 28 (12 steals to go with his blocks) and Rawle Alkins at 23 (18 steals and five blocked shots).

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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**-Las Vegas
***-Los Angeles
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FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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