UA basketball: Nick Johnson finds rhythm after rough month

2013-03-03T20:00:00Z 2013-03-03T21:30:53Z UA basketball: Nick Johnson finds rhythm after rough monthBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 03, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

LOS ANGELES — Through the Jan. 31 evening he helped keep Washington gunner C.J. Wilcox to just 4-for-16 shooting, Nick Johnson’s presence for the Arizona Wildcats was undeniable.

The UA sophomore guard scored often with his uniquely athletic flair, averaging 13.4 points a game while shooting 46.7 percent from the field to that point.

He played a quasi-point guard role along Mark Lyons, who like Johnson is also something of a combo guard, averaging 2.7 assists per game through January. He was often assigned an opponent’s top perimeter scorer on defense, and averaged a team-high 2.3 steals per game.

February was a different story. Johnson contracted an illness early in the month, and struggled on both sides of the ball afterward. He scored in double figures only once in February, while opposing perimeter players often succeeded against him on defense.

But Saturday, in UA’s 74-69 loss at UCLA, Johnson had 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting. He also helped minimize the UCLA perimeter attack of Shabazz Muhammad (6-for-15 shooting) and Jordan Adams (1 of 5). It was the 6-foot-9-inch Kyle Anderson who caused UA the most trouble with 17 points on 8-for-16 shooting.

Johnson’s effort came after he was just 1 for 9 in Wednesday’s loss at USC, where the Trojans’ three perimeter starters totaled 44 points.

“He was in a better place here (at UCLA) than he would have been at USC,” UA coach Sean Miller said. “Nick is a heck of a player. For a long period of time this season, he was arguably our best player, certainly one of them. You can’t play that well for that long and all of a sudden lose it.”

Read more in Monday's Arizona Daily Star.

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Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Utah 6 1 0 0.857 16 3 0 0.842
Arizona 6 1 0 0.857 18 2 0 0.900
Stanford 5 2 0 0.714 14 5 0 0.737
Oregon State 5 2 0 0.714 13 5 0 0.722
Oregon 4 3 0 0.571 14 6 0 0.700
UCLA 3 4 0 0.429 11 9 0 0.550
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429 10 8 0 0.556
Washington 3 4 0 0.429 14 5 0 0.737
Washington State 3 4 0 0.429 9 10 0 0.474
Arizona State 2 5 0 0.286 11 10 0 0.524
California 1 6 0 0.143 11 9 0 0.550
USC 1 6 0 0.143 9 10 0 0.474

AP Top 25


Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
USC at
Oregon State
1/24 55-59
Washington State at
Colorado
1/24 58-90
Arizona State at
Stanford
1/24 70-89
Washington at
Utah
1/25 56-77
Oregon State at
Arizona State
1/28 6:00 pm
Oregon at
Arizona
1/28 8:00 pm
Stanford at
Washington
1/28 9:00 pm
Colorado at
USC
1/29 7:30 pm
Utah at
UCLA
1/29 8:00 pm
California at
Washington State
1/29 9:00 pm
Oregon at
Arizona State
1/30 6:00 pm
Oregon State at
Arizona
1/30 8:00 pm
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