PULLMAN, Wash. – In a weird way, Parker Jackson-Cartwright can probably credit his practice jersey for pushing him into the best game of his season.
Jackson-Cartwright was trying to screen out Allen during a 4-on-4 drill during Tuesday’s practice, when he brushed by Allen and caught his right pinky in his jersey.
“I’m literally trying to pass him on a cut and his hand just got stuck in my jersey and the next thing you know…” Jackson-Cartwright said. "It was crazy.”
It was painful. For Allen to receive. And for everyone else to watch.
“I think he had seven stitches and a lot of blood," UA coach Sean Miller said. "I think he scared everyone, including himself and so as long as he’s safe in terms of infection every day that goes by is a big, big day.”
Allen wound up suffering a dislocated right pinky, and Miller said he was surprised it did not involve a fracture.
“That’s the remarkable part," Miller said. "Justin (Kokoskie, UA athletic trainer) said there’s usually a break. It was a not a break at all. It was a dislocation. It popped (back) in and everything’s stable. He actually has range of motion. Obviously, it’s sore and its on his shooting hand.
"He’ll get better over the weekend; it’s just a matter of Saturday.”
Yes, Saturday. That’s the game against Washington, when the Wildcats obviously could use Allen to defend Markelle Fultz. But UA described Allen’s injury as “day-to-day,” and Miller sounded like Saturday's game was a lot iffier than UA's games against USC and UCLA next week.
“I think he could” play against Washington, Miller said. “He certainly could not.”
Sounds like Dusan Ristic has a better chance of playing Saturday, though Miller said he was concerned because it was the first time Ristic had sprained his left ankle. Ristic is in the questionable category, too, at least until UA sees how he responds overnight.
Miller knew Jackson-Cartwright let the Pac-12 in 3-point shooting percentage in conference games, and could run the team.
But 20 points on 5-for-7 shooting, plus three assists and four steals in 35 minutes on Thursday against WSU? Even that appeared beyond Miller’s expectation.
“He played great,” Miller said. “You look a kid in the eye and say, `Hey you’re gonna start. We need you to step up’ -- and he responds with a career high. He’s a big reason we won the game.”
While Lauri Markkanen didn’t quite break out of his perimeter shooting slump, he created more offense in precisely the way Miller had planned: By posting up and converting offensive rebounds into second shots.
Markkanen was 1 for 4 from 3-point range but 6 of 9 everywhere else.
“We’ve worked with him on that and talked to him a lot about that,” Miller said. “We’ve changed a few things with our scheme but he has to help himself.
"Having the game that he had -- six offensive rebounds, six twos -- he used his size tonight in big way and that’s a great sign for both him and our team because everybody knows that he can shoot the 3, and it’s a matter of can he punish smaller people and big guys around the basket. We’ve seen him get better in that area and tonight he put it all together.”
Markkanen said he’s been trying to expand his game after watching defenses more often switch ball screens and make it harder for him to find open looks.
“I’m trying to focus on different things, rebounding the ball, playing defense,” Markkanen said. “I’m not worried about (shooting), just trying to help the team win."
Miller said he hasn’t coached a guard who pulled down 12 defensive rebounds in a game the way Allonzo Trier did at WSU, though Trier was just 3 of 13 shooting from the field.
“He’s still finding his way,” Miller said. “Sometimes he forces the issue, trying to get a comfort level on finding a shot but he’s an efficient type of guy. He doesn’t need to do that. That’s part of what we have to continue to work with him on.”
The Spokesman-Review game story discussed how WSU coach Ernie Kent called out his guys after the game.
Our game story, photo gallery and seen-and-heard notes are attached to this post, as are the box score and stats in PDF form.