UA basketball: Rare failure at McKale

Cats fall behind quickly; home win streak ends at 22
2011-11-24T00:00:00Z 2014-07-24T10:30:35Z UA basketball: Rare failure at McKaleBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 24, 2011 12:00 am  • 

During a 22-game homecourt winning streak that dated back to the end of Sean Miller's first season with the Arizona Wildcats, the highlights were crammed together.

There was Kyle Fogg's three clutch free throws at the end of regulation in the 2009-10 season finale, Derrick Williams' 31 points in a two-point win over California last season and the white-out win over Washington, plus so many others.

But that's all they are now - memories - after Arizona's 61-57 loss to San Diego State on Wednesday that ended the streak at 22 games.

"Home-court streak is everything," Miller said. "Winning at home in college basketball usually means you have a heck of a season and for us to win 22 in a row, 17 in a row a year ago, we had some great moments during that streak. Now our objective is to start a new streak."

But to do so, the Wildcats will have to avoid taking possessions, even whole minutes, off as they did Wednesday.

Arizona fell behind 16-2 and 21-4 early and never really caught up, despite trailing the Aztecs by only two at halftime.

"Point blank, period, we just weren't ready," forward Jesse Perry said.

It was a fatal flaw for a team that Miller has repeatedly said has no room for error, considering its newcomers and lack of size. There is no Williams inside to make up for any issues.

The Wildcats made just two of their first nine field goals as SDSU was 7 for 9 and hit all three three-pointers it took while coasting to the early 14-point lead.

They knew they should have been ready for it. Freshman guard Nick Johnson said the coaches had scouted the Aztecs well, but it didn't matter much when early effort was a bit flat.

"It's just us," Johnson said. "Our preparation before the game, we've gotta change it. I don't know if the bench has to be more into it … but we need to step up and start playing in the first half."

Miller said he's thinking of rearranging his starting lineup in an effort to avoid the slow starts that have plagued Arizona lately; the Wildcats were also down 7-0 against Mississippi State after less than two minutes last Friday in New York.

Miller said he wasn't sure if he would start Josiah Turner at point guard again over Jordin Mayes, but said Turner had his best game yet, with 10 points and no turnovers and one assist.

He also played starting center Kyryl Natyazhko just 12 minutes while Nick Johnson played 27 off the bench.

One option the Wildcats won't likely have is freshman forward Sidiki Johnson, who remains suspended indefinitely.

Miller confirmed Johnson was still in New York but is scheduled to return to Tucson this weekend, and that he has been given conditions for reinstatement.

"We have an agreement and if he meets this agreement he could potentially be reinstated. He could also be dismissed." Miller said.

But when asked if he's optimistic Johnson would meet the agreement, Miller said: "No."

Wednesday's loss dropped Arizona to 4-2 and possibly out of the Top 25 polls for the first time since Jan. 24 last season. San Diego State improved to 6-1.

Arizona shot just 33 percent from the field while San Diego State hit 45 percent overall and made 8 of 12 three-pointers. The Aztecs were led by Chase Tapley, who had 17 points, while Solomon Hill had 14 for Arizona but made only 4 of 12 field goals and was 1 of 6 from three-point range.

Turner and Johnson each had 10 points for the Wildcats while Perry had 11 rebounds.

Arizona trailed the Aztecs by two at halftime but never drew closer in the second half. Perry and Kevin Parrom both hit three-pointers that drew Arizona within three points but the Aztecs led by double digits midway through the half.

A memorable sequence by Johnson helped the Wildcats cut it to 57-51 with three minutes left. Johnson blocked a SDSU shot that turned into a score by Hill and later returned for a three-pointer.

Johnson, however, turned the ball over with three minutes left when he was called for a ballhandling violation.

With 1:03 left, SDSU's Tapley hit a three-pointer to give the Aztecs a 60-51 lead and put the game out of reach. Arizona cut the SDSU lead to 61-57 with four seconds left but couldn't get any closer.

"It's hard for a team to make two big runs in a game," Johnson said. "We had the momentum (at halftime) and they come out in the second half and punched us again in the mouth."

In the first half, the Wildcats nearly erased an early 16-2 deficit while San Diego State held on to a 31-29 halftime lead.

The Wildcats made just two of their first nine field goals while SDSU was 7 for 9 and hit all three three-pointers it took while coasting to the early 14-point lead.

But by halftime, the stats had evened out somewhat. Arizona shot just 31 percent from the field but forced eight San Diego State turnovers and took seven more free throws than the Aztecs.

SDSU shot 57.1 percent from the field and was led by Tapley, who had 10 points.

Arizona had 10 points from Hill, while Turner had six, including two free throws with four seconds left that cut the Wildcats' deficit to two points.

On StarNet: See more photos from UA's loss at: azstarnet.com/gallery

Up next

• What: Arizona at New Mexico State

• When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

• TV: FSAZ Plus

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Latest Sports Video

More videos

Hansen: Number one sports figure in 2014

Greg reveals this year’s top Southern Arizona Sports Figure of 2014


Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

Restore that million dollar view

Call Crystal Clean today!