Seen & Heard at McKale Center

Keystone State buddies

UA guard T.J. McConnell and Augustana junior guard Evan Pierce met at midcourt well before the game and exchanged pleasantries, and presumably, talked about Heinz ketchup.

McConnell was the Pennsylvania Class 3A Player of the Year and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette High School Male Athlete of the Year as a senior at Chartiers High (Bridgeville, Pa.), while Pierce was the Post-Gazette’s Class 4A Player of the Year at Mt. Lebanon High in Pittsburgh. Both took a wayward path to McKale’s center court. McConnell transferred from Duquesne and sat out last year, while Pierce played in 29 games last year for the D-II Vikings after transferring from D-I Wagner.

Familiar faces

The Wildcats have played host to the Vikings twice before during Miller’s tenure, taking both with a 70-59 win in 2010 and a 92-76 win in 2010. Derrick Williams led the way with 19 points in each game.

Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy

Augustana is no stranger to the Outback, as the small South Dakota school sports two Australia natives on the roster.

Starting guard Matt Brazendale, of Devonport, Tazmania, had four points in 24 minutes while senior guard Ben Shellim of Melbourne, Victoria, had no points in 10 minutes.

The Wildcats, meanwhile, stay a bit more local, with no foreign-born players on the roster and half (8-of-16) hailing from California, and four more in-state products.

Jansen shines

Arizona knew it was going to have its hands full with Augustana sophomore forward Daniel Jansen, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Freshman of the Year last season. The Wildcats weren’t let down, and neither were the Vikings.

Jansen, who averaged 11.1 points and a team-high six rebounds as a freshman, had 18 points — including 12 in the first half — four rebounds and three assists.

Big number


Arizona, which has improved defensively every season under head coach Sean Miller, put the clamps on the Vikings on Monday. The Wildcats held Augustana to 30.2 percent shooting (19-of-63 including 20.7 percentage (6-of-29) in the second half.

Fan happy about T.J.

An Arizona fan sitting courtside got a pleasant surprise from a fellow fan.

“Wait, we have T.J. another year?” the man exclaimed, unaware that McConnell is only a junior.

More like Brandon Smashley

Arizona sophomore power forward Brandon Ashley had three blocks on Monday, a positive improvement on the defensive end after not making much of an impact in the category last season. As a freshman, Ashley had just 18 blocks in 35 games, including only three in 18 Pac-12 games.

The Arizona defense as a whole improved in the post, as the Wildcats had eight blocks; last season, they averaged 3.8 per game.

Jon Gold