Parrom an inspiration in first game back

Arizona 73, Ball State 63
2011-11-14T00:00:00Z 2014-07-24T10:30:26Z Parrom an inspiration in first game backBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 14, 2011 12:00 am  • 

In the days and weeks that immediately followed the September shooting of Kevin Parrom, the Arizona Wildcats' junior forward didn't even have a timetable to return.

How could he? Parrom spent more than two days in a Bronx hospital, unable to feel anything below his right ankle, and when he returned to Tucson he began rehabilitation not knowing if he would play this season or at all, really.

And just three weeks later, his mother died of cancer, another unimaginable setback.

Yet Sunday, in the Wildcats' 73-63 win over Ball State, just over seven weeks after police said a man broke down a door in his father's Bronx apartment and shot Parrom, there he was on the court, at McKale Center, introduced to a standing ovation.

"It was good to see the crowd stand up for me and everybody be there for me," Parrom said. "I really needed that."

Then Parrom went out and collected six points, four rebounds, a charge and a hug from his stunned and proud coach during what was the 22nd straight home-court win for Arizona (3-0).

"I can't even really talk about Kevin," UA coach Sean Miller said. "He's just such a great warrior, such a great kid. He's been through more than any person deserves to go through, and to watch him respond and get welcomed the way he did, take a charge, get rebounds. … We're so much better of a team with Kevin but that's not even the story."

It wasn't the story, of course, but it just so turned out that Parrom's production was sorely needed during a game when the Wildcats sputtered early, committing 10 first-half turnovers, and trailing by nine points at halftime.

Miller did not play freshman point guard Josiah Turner, saying he was still making adjustments "on and off the court," while Ball State had seven points and 11 assists from its point guard, Randy Davis.

In addition, Arizona struggled to find an answer inside to Ball State big man Jarrod Jones, who had 25 points and nine rebounds, with Miller starting Angelo Chol at center in the second half, as well as trying freshman Sidiki Johnson and also Jesse Perry there at times.

So, after the Wildcats cranked up their defense in the second half and cut back on turnovers to win the game by 10, Miller said of Parrom that the Wildcats "wouldn't have won the game without him."

There was one moment where everybody inside McKale Center probably agreed: At the end of Arizona's 12-3 second-half run, when Parrom sank a three-pointer that pulled the Wildcats within 47-46.

At that moment, the McKale crowd of 12,833 was the loudest it has been yet this season.

"It almost felt like that basket counted for eight points," Miller said.

It was all much more than Parrom expected. He said he didn't even know for sure until shortly before the game that he would play at all.

Then Parrom said he figured he'd get out there and see what he could do, getting ready with an eye on Thursday's UA-St. John's game in his hometown of New York.

"It felt good. It was an amazing feeling," Parrom said. "I'm just happy to be back on the floor. I just wanted to contribute and grab a rebound or two."

Parrom wound up playing 18 minutes and Miller said he would have played him more but wanted to be careful with him. But Miller also did not have to, since the Wildcats became a different team in the second half.

Arizona had no turnovers in the first eight minutes of the second half while Ball State had four, including two during the Wildcats' 12-3 run. The Wildcats held Ball State to 38.5 percent shooting in the second half and forced eight turnovers.

Ball State led 53-51 with 7:57 left to play but Nick Johnson's two free throws with 6:07 gave UA its first lead since the early moments of the game, and the Wildcats never lost it from there.

In both halves, the Wildcats were able to lean on veterans Kyle Fogg (21 points, three rebounds) and Solomon Hill (16 points, 11 rebounds) for significant help.

And they, in turn, found energy in simply watching Parrom return to the floor.

"Seeing him on the court was like a sigh of relief," Hill said.

"It's like, man, we got another big piece of the puzzle."

No. 16 ARIZONA 73, BALL ST. 63

FG FT Reb

BALL ST. Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Bond 23 0-1 4-6 1-4 0 3 4

Koch 18 1-5 0-2 0-2 1 5 2

Jones 37 11-15 0-1 3-9 0 4 25

Davis 36 3-9 0-0 1-4 11 5 7

Scaife 30 5-17 0-0 0-4 1 3 14

Chapman 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Adeoye 18 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 4 0

Sneed 8 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Berry 25 4-11 2-4 0-0 0 2 11

Totals 200 24-59 6-13 8-29 13 28 63

Percentages: FG .407, FT .462. 3-Point Goals: 9-28, .321 (Scaife 4-9, Jones 3-3, Berry 1-6, Davis 1-6, Chapman 0-1, Koch 0-3). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 2 (Adeoye, Jones). Turnovers: 9 (Davis 2, Scaife 2, Berry 2, Koch, Adeoye, Sneed). Steals: 3 (Bond 2, Scaife). Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

ARIZONA Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Perry 32 2-9 2-4 1-4 2 2 7

Hill 38 4-6 7-10 3-11 3 1 16

Natyazhko 13 2-3 0-2 1-3 0 0 5

Mayes 20 0-3 2-2 0-3 1 3 2

Fogg 32 5-12 8-9 0-3 0 3 21

S Johnson 4 0-0 1-2 1-2 0 1 1

Parrom 18 1-3 3-4 0-4 2 1 6

N Johnson 24 2-6 5-7 0-3 1 1 9

Lavender 9 1-1 3-3 0-1 1 2 6

Chol 10 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 1 0

Totals 200 17-43 31-43 9-39 10 15 73

Percentages: FG .395, FT .721. 3-Point Goals: 8-20, .400 (Fogg 3-5, Lavender 1-1, Natyazhko 1-2, Hill 1-2, Parrom 1-3, Perry 1-3, Mayes 0-2, N. Johnson 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 4 (Fogg, N. Johnson, Perry, Hill). Turnovers: 13 (Perry 4, Fogg 3, N. Johnson 2, Mayes, Lavender, Hill). Steals: 2 (Chol, Fogg). Technical Fouls: None.

Ball St. 38 25-63

Arizona 29 44-73

A-12,833. Officials-Jeff Ketchu, Brett Nansel, Melvin Landry.

Up next

• Who: Arizona vs. St. John's

• Where: New York City

• When: 7:30 p.m.

• TV: ESPN2

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