Beavers no match for hostile McKale
By the time the Arizona Zona Zoo started its “Nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, hey, goodbye” chant with the seconds ticking off the clock on Sunday night, Angus Brandt was reminded once more of the hostile environment of McKale Center.
One of the Pac-12’s most veteran players, the Oregon State fifth-year senior fell to 1-3 in Tucson after the Wildcats’ 76-54 win. A bit different than his freshman year, in 2009-10, when the Beavers shocked Arizona in a 63-55 win, though Brandt played just one minute that day.
He was hampered by early foul trouble — playing only 17 minutes Sunday — but even that was enough to hear the music from the feisty Wildcat crowd.
“I’ve played in McKale ever since I’ve been in college, so I’ve become accustomed to how loud they are,” said Brandt, who had a team-high 14 points. “Every year I’ve played them, they have been good and the crowd always gets into it. We’ve learned to adjust to it, but as an underclassman, it can be pretty intimidating since you have everybody rooting against you. But Arizona deserves a crowd like this because they are playing pretty well.”
The large target on the back of the Wildcat jerseys had Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson licking his chops. For a program that is playing its best ball in more than a decade, a win on the road at McKale would’ve been a crowning achievement. That’s what made Sunday’s rout so hard to swallow.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t play better, because we had been playing better, and to get the opportunity to play the No. 2 team in the nation, I didn’t think we didn’t come out with our best effort, Robinson said. “I want to take the blame for that, but this was a hostile environment.”
Johnson spills beans on spitting secret
Each Arizona starter has gotten his solo time on the new McKale Center video board, but Sunday was Nick Johnson’s opportunity to tell the crowd a little about himself.
And he did in a hilarious “getting to know you” segment.
Turns out, he can sing (hidden talent), once had a celebrity crush on Miley Cyrus (but no longer) and he fishes in his spare time (deep sea). But when asked to reveal a secret about coach Sean Miller, he let one fly: Apparently, Miller spits when he talks.
Watch out, Nick, there may be some extra sprints on the horizon, if the floor isn’t too wet.
RHJumping for joy
Freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is quickly becoming a crowd favorite, as much for his floor burns as his dunks. Hollis-Jefferson dove for loose balls twice Sunday, drawing loud reaction from the fans. But he still had his fair share of offense, scoring 14, including a rebound-and-dunk late in the game that put Arizona up 19.
Hall of famers in the house
McKale Center is no stranger to NBA Hall of Fame talent, but two of the defining players of the 1990s came out Sunday.
Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen attended the game as a scout and consultant for the Bulls, and Tim Hardaway was also at the game, scouting for the Miami Heat.
13 Arizona outscored Oregon State 13-0 on second-chance points, a reflection of its 39-24 rebounding advantage.
Tweet of the night
“I know it’s Oregon State, but if Gordon keeps playing like this going forward, loss of Ashley won’t hurt quite as much.” — Daily Star reporter Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt)