Arizona Basketball

Pac-12 tournament notes: Scott acknowledges it gets “chippy” when playing Arizona



(Colorado graphic)

(Colorado graphic)

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Playing against Arizona for the ninth time tomorrow, including three games in the postseason, Colorado center Josh Scott should be a villain of the same rank as Reggie Miller or Don MacLean right?

Not even close, and that’s after Scott burned the Wildcats with a season-high 26 points in a 75-72 win in Boulder, Colo., two weeks ago.

Scott is 2-6 against Arizona in games in which he played in his career. He missed only one game against Arizona, in Tucson last season because of an injury. He is mild-mannered, at least off the court in the same mold as Tim Duncan, which makes it difficult to dislike him.

A rivalry does exist, however, with him and Arizona, namely senior center Kaleb Tarczewski.

“It gets chippy, but that’s competing right there,” Scott acknowledged about his battles with Tarczewski over the last four years. “I would not have it any other way.”

Scott has averaged 10.6 points and 7 rebounds in his matchups with Arizona in his career. He is shooting only 51.5 percent. He averages 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 52.1 percent in his career.

His relationship with Tarczewski extends to when they were trying out for the Pan-Am Games in Colorado Springs last July. Scott did not make Team USA, while Tarczewski did despite Boyle being on Mark Few’s staff. Scott carries no grudges.

“Tarczewski’s a good dude off the court and a competitor on it,” Scott said. “That’s how it’s supposed to be.”


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Colorado more of a team than last year. Remember when Colorado was Scott, Askia Booker, Xavier Johnson and a bunch of other guys? The Buffaloes are not like that any longer.

Sophomore guard George King, the Pac-12’s most improved player, buoyed Colorado with 21 points with Scott producing only six points and five rebounds in the Buffaloes’ 80-56 win over Washington State in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament Wednesday.

Josh Fortune added 13 points while Wesley Gordon and Tory Miller led Colorado with seven rebounds each.

“We played through him,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said of Scott’s performance against Washington State, which also included a career-high five assists with no turnovers. “He demands so much attention that he makes life easier for these other guys, and that’s really what team basketball is all about. It might be George’s night tonight to score 20. It might be Tory’s the next night. It might be Josh’s the next night.

“That’s what I love about this team. We can hurt you in a lot of different ways. When we are all clicking on all cylinders offensively, we’ve got a chance to be really, really good if we guard and rebound like we did tonight.”

Italicized: Pac-12 tournament games
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King of heart. King earned the most improved player in the conference after hardly playing as a freshman two years ago and then redshirting last year to work on his game. In the victory over Arizona two weeks ago, he tallied 14 points with seven rebounds.

“I want a ring and I think this team is more than capable of doing that, winning four games in four days,” King said. “But it starts now with the first game (against Washington State). You’ve got to set a tone. That’s what I go out there and try to do.”

And he did. King was the game’s only double-figure scorer until Wazzu junior guard Que Johnson made two free throws with 9:41 left in the game to give him 11 points. Scott scored 11 points in a 13-4 run that helped Colorado put Washington State away early.

Alford takes responsibility for “really poor job”. UCLA coach Steve Alford suffered his first losing season — the Bruins finished 14-16 with Wednesday night’s 80-61 loss to USC — since his first season at Iowa in 1999-2000.

One reporter asked Alford how he defends himself in the midst of UCLA fans asking for his job.

“I’m not defending myself,” Alford said. “I didn’t get in this business to defend myself. If I’m a fan, I’m upset too. It’s not a defense. If I’m a fan, I’m upset; I’m a coach, I’m upset.

“It’s my responsibility. And the product that we’ve had over the last two months was not the product that I wanted. It’s not what the coaches want, it’s not what the team wanted. This is a bad year. It was a bad conference season. It was a bad two and a half months. Bad year’s probably an overstatement. It was a bad two and a half months, bad league play. And that’s what it was.”

Alford lamented: “I’ve just done a really poor job of getting to these guys over the last two and a half months.” But he also showed optimism in the future with the Bruins having a top five-rated recruiting class coming in which includes former Arizona commit T.J. Leaf.

“I think I’ve got the players’ attention,” Alford said. “We’ve got a tremendous recruiting class coming in that we’re excited about that I think will help. We lose Tony (Parker), he’s our only senior. So it’s back to work. It’s getting us back to the level of excellence that is required.”

Tourney Tidbits: Colorado’s 22 wins is tied for fourth in school history (1996-97). The Buffaloes are 5-0 in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. … The Buffaloes’ fan contingent at the MGM Grand Garden Arena was approximately 2,000 just from an observation. Arizona will likely have three to four times more than that. … Arizona assistant Book Richardson scouted the Colorado-Washington State game. … During a solo drumming routine by entertainer Peter Rabbit at halftime of the ASU-Oregon State game, a loud “U of A, U of A” cheer broke out when the drummer hit a rhythm that coincided with U-of-A, U-of-A. The Wildcat fans here would rather watch hoops than gamble or enjoy the Vegas nightlife it appears. …

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[/ezcol_1half_end] 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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