SAN FRANCISCO — The Arizona Wildcats found another way to deal with the Pac-12’s increasingly super-sized weekends.
Because the Wildcats were scheduled for games on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday this week — and because they needed to squeeze in a day off under NCAA rules — they opted to tour Alcatraz on Thursday.
The Wildcats were either coy or didn’t know about their plans when several were asked what they would do on Thursday, but Arizona’s basketball Twitter account began posting photos of the players touring the old prison by midday.
“Might be a little tight for some of our guys to escape thru that vent,” said one tweet with a photo of bars attached.
The Wildcats are scheduled to practice today at Cal in advance of their Saturday evening game with the Bears. UA players are typically off-limits to media between games of a weekend series.
The official play-by-play says Arizona kept Stanford scoreless for 8 minutes 42 seconds late in the second half of the Wildcats’ 60-57 win Wednesday.
The Wildcats also kept the Cardinal scoreless for periods of four, two, two and nearly three minutes in the first half. But forward Brandon Ashley said the Wildcats measure their defense with “kills” — three straight defensive stops — and that they had five in the first half and several in the second.
“We want to get as many kills as we can, hold them to as few points as we can,” Ashley said. “We held them to a pretty low percentage of shots … that’s what won us the game.”
However you look it, though, the fact is that UA held Stanford to 37.5 percent shooting, contained standout Cardinal guard Chasson Randle to 3-for-15 shooting and generally made up for their own low field-goal and free-throw shooting — as well as their failure to out-rebound Stanford.
“We’re an outstanding defensive team and it wasn’t as if we changed any scheme,” UA coach Sean Miller said. “We just had guys buckle down and play hard. To hold them to what we did was a big reason we won. Our defense was a big reason we won the game tonight.”
It was a big reason Stanford left Maples frustrated.
“We let them move us off our spots offensively,” Stanford forward Josh Huestis said.
“We can’t let the defense push us out because then we are running our offense too far back. That messes us up. … We need to work on fighting for those positions and not let defenses push us out and contest us.”
Lack of effort
While Miller said part of the reason for Stanford’s 38-36 rebounding advantage Wednesday was that the Cardinal is big and experienced inside, it’s also been suggested that rebounding can measure a team’s effort.
That’s the way Nick Johnson appeared to look at it, for one.
“I felt like for the majority of the game, they played harder than us,” Johnson said. “That’s the first time all season we’ve been out-rebounded. We’re one of he top offensive rebounding teams in the country and we had one offensive rebound at the half. Stuff like that is pure effort.”