UA-OSU

No. 4 Arizona 80, Oregon State 70: Easing back on track

Jerrett, Ashley, Lyons help Wildcats quickly return to winning ways
2013-01-13T00:00:00Z 2014-08-01T11:23:57Z No. 4 Arizona 80, Oregon State 70: Easing back on trackBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Grant Jerrett, Brandon Ashley and Mark Lyons had never played in Gill Coliseum before Saturday.

So together, the first-year Wildcats made their own history and turned Oregon State's atmospheric old pavilion from the troublesome to the cathartic.

Having not beaten the Beavers at Gill since 2009, the No. 4-ranked Wildcats won 80-70 on Saturday to quickly lessen the sting of their first loss of the season, suffered Thursday at Oregon.

Playing with more aggression at nearly every position, the Wildcats received 16 points, five rebounds and five assists from Lyons plus a season-high six blocks from Jerrett and 12 points with seven rebounds from Ashley.

Quickly, that 70-66 game at Matthew Knight Arena didn't feel quite as bad.

"Definitely," Lyons said. "As a team we didn't let that get to us. One loss doesn't affect your year unless it's in March. So we're OK there."

The Beavers cut the Wildcats' lead to one point six times in the first half, but UA never trailed while showing the offensive aggressiveness and defense that led them to a 14-0 start before the Ducks beat them Thursday.

The Wildcats (15-1, 3-1 Pac-12) kept Oregon State to just 39.3 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range, after the Ducks jumped on Arizona on Thursday by making 57 percent from the field in the first half.

"It was our ball pressure," Lyons said. "We just felt like we're expecting guys to miss and this is Division I basketball - guys come here for a reason. We just have to force our opponents to take tough shots and get back to defense-to-offense so we can push the ball."

Lyons said the Wildcats' defense was much better than it was Thursday and that he knew in particular that Jerrett would make a big impact.

"Grant sent me a text message today - he said 'I'm going to play harder. I'm going to play like myself,' " Lyons said. "I told him, 'We need you to come in day in and day out because you're a great player and we trust in your ability'. Today it showed."

Miller said Jerrett's performance, which also included eight points and five rebounds, was the best of his career so far.

"The blocks he made weren't easy blocks - they were big-play blocks," Miller said. "Brandon and Grant were much better tonight. They were more ready and they were physical."

The defensive aggressiveness carried over on the other end of the floor.

Oregon State (10-6, 0-3) entered the game with the Pac-12's best three-point percentage defense (30.3), but the Wildcats poured in 10 of 25 three-pointers, including a 5-for-8 effort from forward Solomon Hill.

Hill totaled 16 points and six rebounds.

Arizona actually made just 4 of 14 threes in the second half but still managed to stay comfortably ahead after Kevin Parrom hit two three-pointers and Jerrett added another while UA built a 60-45 lead with 12:22 left.

"Solomon was key at certain points and Kevin Parrom was really important for us in the second half," Miller said. "That's who we are as a team. … This was a total team effort."

Miller said it was telling the way UA rallied after a late first-half struggle. The Beavers nearly had a turning point with 3:29 left, when they trailed by three points and Parrom was whistled for a technical foul.

OSU's Joe Burton hit two ensuing free throws to cut UA's lead to one point, but the Wildcats outscored OSU 9-2 the rest of the half.

While the Wildcats return for a week to prepare for a Saturday game at Arizona State now imperfect at 15-1, they not only have confidence back but they also have some company: Earlier in the day, North Carolina State handed No. 1 Duke its first loss of the season, too.

The OSU win "was a good thing for us," Jerrett said. "It kind of felt like we got something off our shoulders. Even Duke lost and I feel badly for the next team that plays Duke."

On StarNet: Join Bruce Pascoe at noon Monday for a live chat on Arizona Wildcats basketball live.azstarnet.com

Up next

• What: No. 4 Arizona at Arizona St.

• When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday

• TV: FSAZ

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

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


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