KANSAS 87, ARIZONA 79

A lesson from Kansas

Cats handed first loss as rally comes up short against No. 6 Jayhawks
2010-11-28T00:00:00Z 2012-11-30T19:17:37Z A lesson from KansasBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 28, 2010 12:00 am  • 

LAS VEGAS - On a day when the Arizona Wildcats' future suddenly looked even brighter, they found out the present isn't all that bad, either.

Before their 87-79 loss to Kansas on Saturday at Orleans Arena, Arizona pulled in commitments from Top 25 recruits Grant Jerrett of the 2012 class and Eric Cooper Jr. of 2013.

Then they took the nation's sixth-rated team nearly down to the wire, taking advantage of foul trouble to Kansas star Marcus Morris and scaring the Jayhawks until Derrick Williams fouled out with 2:27 left.

"We're a much better team, as you can tell," Williams said. "But it's kind of disappointing."

Sure enough, tough-minded UA coach Sean Miller wasn't into moral victories of any sort, either.

"I don't think any of us make the decision to come to Arizona to say we played Kansas tough," Miller said.

The Wildcats had their usual monster game from Williams (27 points, eight rebounds) but were otherwise led by Kyle Fogg, who began the evening in Miller's doghouse.

Miller criticized Fogg after he went scoreless Friday against Santa Clara and appeared to pout, saying "this isn't tennis."

Brendon Lavender started in place of Fogg, but Fogg quickly worked his way out of detention. He had 11 points in the first half, including three three-pointers, and started the second half.

Fogg finished with 18 points while making 4 of 8 three-pointers.

"My head wasn't in the right place," Fogg said. "I wasn't really giving it my all so I let it get to me. (Miller) made the right decision sitting me, getting my head right. He told me, nothing personal. It's something he has to do. He said even if I'm not playing, our team feeds off me because I'm one of our leaders and best players."

Miller wasn't the only one who lit into Fogg.

"We all got into him," guard MoMo Jones said. "Fogg has to be Fogg. He can't let things get to him."

Morris was named the Las Vegas Invitational's MVP after scoring 16 points with nine rebounds.

On the all-tournament team along with Morris were Markieff Morris and Travis Releford of Kansas. Arizona added Williams and Solomon Hill to the all-tournament team.

"Great players have to play great in big games," Williams said.

The loss dropped Arizona to 5-1 while Kansas moved to 6-0. The Wildcats will next play Wednesday at Rice before hosting Oklahoma next Sunday at McKale Center.

Kansas all but took control of the game with 2:27 left, when Markieff Morris went inside for a layup and drew a foul from Williams, his fifth. KU led 77-72, and even though Morris missed the free throw, it ultimately didn't matter.

Williams sat down for good and was outlasted by Marcus Morris, who continued to play despite getting his fourth foul early in the second half.

Arizona took a 60-56 lead with nine minutes left when Fogg hit a fadeway jumper along the baseline but Williams picked up his fourth foul and was forced to sit while Kansas came back and took a 63-60 lead.

Although the Wildcats allowed Kansas to hit 54.4 percent of its field goals, and turned the ball over 19 times, the Wildcats out-rebounded Kansas 37-33.

"If we would have played them last year, they probably would have done the same thing BYU did to us," Williams said, referring to UA's 30-point homecourt loss to the Cougars last season. "This year's team is more physical and has that tougher mentality."

Earlier in the second half, UA took advantage of Morris' benching after he picked up two quick fouls after halftime to total four.

Fogg's fourth three-pointer of the game cut Kansas' lead to 51-50 with 15:39 remaining. Then Hill gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 52-51, with 15:04 left.

The Wildcats went ahead 56-54 after Fogg hit a 10-footer and Williams hit two free throws though they lost it for good with about eight minutes left.

The day started off promisingly for Arizona when Jerrett and Cooper announced they were coming to Tucson for college.

Even though neither will be suiting up for a while - Jerrett not until 2012-13 and Cooper not until 2013-14 - the two were the first in their respective classes to commit to UA, following the Top 10 class of 2011 UA signed this fall.

"I think they liked the fact that Arizona is on the uprise," said Eric Cooper Sr., Cooper's father and both players' coach at La Verne (Calif.) Lutheran High School. "They had a great recruiting class last year and in 2010. They're just doing very well and are projected to be good in the future. And the fans are incredible. All you have to do is go to a game and see the fans."

Cooper knows the experience himself, having played for the Lute Olson-coached Wildcats in the 1980s before transferring to Texas-San Antonio. But he said he kept his Wildcat roots quiet and let his players find out for themselves where to go.

Jerrett and Cooper Jr. attended UA's regular-season finale against USC last March and this year's Red-Blue game, as well as taking several unofficial visits to elite schools all over the country.

"I might not be a good source for that because I left," Cooper Sr. said, "but the kids on their own recognized it."

Up next

• What: Arizona at Rice

• When: 6 p.m. Wednesday

• TV: CBS College Sports (Comcast channel 274; Cox 187; DirecTV 613; Dish 152)

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107-5-FM

Star reporter Ryan Finley contributed to this report.

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


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