Arizona Basketball

Can Arizona stop the raining 3’s? Now is the time to do it

SALT LAKE CITY – Arizona meet your kryptonite.


Dayton loves to shoot the 3-ball and it plays at a slower pace. There’s no need to remind anyone – within the team and outside of it – those two things have been the downfall of Arizona this season. Many seasons.

Will it continue here on Saturday morning at the Delta Center in the second round of the NCAA tournament? Arizona is determined not to see that happen.

Everyone will have to get up fairly bright and early to find out, given the game is at 9:45 a.m. in Arizona.

It’s all about defending on the perimeter. Hear that again: IT’S ABOUT DEFENDING ON THE PERIMETER!

Dayton goes into Saturday’s game riding a high after a huge come-from-behind win over Nevada, using the 3-point shot.

And overall, Dayton is third in Division I in 3-point percentage, hitting 40.2 percent of its shots (303-753). It’s eight percentage points better than its school record.

It’s the Flyers’ mentality. It’s what they do.

“Our guys have done a good job of being able to share the basketball and being able to understand how to play that identity,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said, when asked about the 3’s, “whether it’s a 3-point shot, a rim shot or getting to the free throw line. We just try to be efficient. Our guys have been pretty good at being efficient.”

Make no mistake, Dayton loves 3’s inasmuch as 44 percent of its overall shots have come from beyond the half-moon line.

“I feel like we’re gonna be fine,” said UA guard Kylan Boswell. “We have a lot more focus going into this game now because we know the 3-ball is a big factor for them … we have a good game plan; I think we will be fine.”

One Flyer to look out for is Kobey Brea, who has hit 96 shots from 3-point range and at a 47 percent clip.

“He’s a coin-toss guy, which is crazy,” Tommy Lloyd said. “He’s a 50 percent 3-point shooter. Flip a coin, he’s going to make or miss it. That’s exceptional shooting.

“… I’m just really impressed. Really impressed by Dayton, how they utilize their personnel. And obviously, they have some elite shooters, and Brea’s No. 1 on that list.”

Arizona associate head coach Jack Murphy got the scout on the game and he adds a little more, saying in addition to trying to stop the 3, Arizona must stop DaRon Holmes II.

“We have to defend the pick-and-pop with Holmes,” he said. “It’s all stuff we’ve seen before.”

Murphy brought up Stanford, and if that doesn’t bring back nightmares it should. Stanford hit a school-record 16 shots from 3-point range in 26 attempts.

“It’ll be our attention to detail and focus on the game,” Murphy said. “I guys will be ready for that.”

They don’t have a choice. They know it.

“It’s March Madness, you win, or you go home,” Boswell said. “All of us are more locked than normal and we will be giving more effort than we normally would so we’ll give it our all. I feel very good about it.”

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