Arizona Athletics

Paradise Lost – Arizona must re-find its groove

Now come the questions: is it better to have the offense … or the defense?

As Lorenzo Romar put it in the postgame radio show if you score 84 points that should be good enough to win a basketball game.

Well, it wasn’t for Arizona against North Carolina State as it lost 90-84 in the Bahamas in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Paradise lost.

Forget about the championship game with Villanova. Arizona suffered a premature evacuation from its early-season tournament. ESPN 3 it is the rest of the way.

“When you think about Arizona basketball under Sean Miller is you think (about) being gritty and team defense,” said Lorenzo Romar, UA’s associate head coach on the postgame radio show. “We didn’t show that tonight. When we managed to come back and take the lead it was because we were getting stops … If we don’t defend better than that, there’s going to be problems.”

That’s not a good sign. But Miller said that last week, indicating his team’s defense had to improve if it had any hope of a good season. Arizona failed its first true test. On so many levels.

Allonzo Trier was MIA in the first half, hitting just 1 of 5 shots. He had three points, but finished with 27.
Arizona relied heavily on freshman Deandre Ayton (and rightly so) because everything else wasn’t working He finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds.

UA freshman Deandre Ayton looks to score against NC State in the Bahamas. (Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics)

Arizona’s one-two punch wasn’t good enough to carry the team. And it didn’t help NC State’s bench outscored UA’s 39-6. Wasn’t it thought that UA’s bench was perhaps one of the best in college basketball?

Emmanuel Akot was invisible.

Ira Lee was a non-factor.

Brandon Randolph, where did you go?

And, much-talked-about Alex Barcello wasn’t a factor.

They totaled two points.

T-W-O.

Yikes.

This could be one the worst starts for an Arizona team since the 1989 season when UA fell to Oregon and Oregon State in the second and third game. After all, the Wolfpack went into the game unranked.

Back then, Arizona recovered but you get the picture.

Heck, unrealistic fans had Arizona going undefeated in the regular season. Underscore unrealistic … especially now after facing a higher grade of competition.

Expectations will remain high despite the loss, of course, but you know what they say about expectations and potential? It means you haven’t done anything yet. Good thing for Arizona there are nearly four months to get better.

Arizona … you are now on the clock.

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