PALO ALTO, Calif. — Despite hitting the Maples Pavilion floor with apparent pain in his previously dislocated left shoulder late in Wednesday's Arizona-Stanford game, Justin Coleman was no worse off Friday.
It also helps Coleman that the Wildcats have an extra day before their game Saturday at Cal — that is, if Coleman is needed at all against the struggling Bears.
UA coach Sean Miller after the game did not address Coleman’s fall. UA assistant coach Justin Gainey said on the postgame radio show, according to Arizona Desert Swarm, that “it’s good that we have that extra day here in the Bay to let him rest and recover, but I think he’s going to be OK.”
Coleman first dislocated his shoulder in practice on Dec. 31, and played only four minutes against Colorado on Jan. 3. He played fully on Jan. 5 against Utah and Wednesday against Stanford.
Miller said after the Colorado game that he played Coleman then because he's "not at any further risk to hurt himself."
While Arizona allowed Stanford to shoot 58.3 percent in the second half Thursday, the Wildcats offset that in a few ways: They committed only two turnovers after halftime, allowed Stanford to make only 1 of 8 3-pointers and hit 12 of 13 free throws.
As it turned out, even though Stanford attempted 18 free throws in the first half alone, the Wildcats ended up scoring one more point at the line than Stanford did. Arizona shot 16 of 18 overall and Stanford was 15 of 26.
“We pride ourselves on being a good free-throw shooting team,” said Ira Lee, who hit two free throws with 21 seconds left to give UA a five-point lead. “Definitely, free throws made a difference.”
Still, UA coach Sean Miller wasn’t happy with UA’s defense overall. The Wildcats allowed their opponent to shoot over 50 percent for the second straight game, with Utah hitting 52.4 percent last Saturday and Stanford shooting 50 percent on Wednesday.
“Both halves were the same” with defensive issues, Miller said. “They got us in foul trouble. It wasn’t as if it was the officials or a lack of effort. We drove the ball and got it around the rim. They got Chase (Jeter) out of the game, which is a big problem. For us, there’s some things defensively we have to continue to iron out and get better at.”
At the same time, Miller said Stanford’s KZ Okpala made things a lot more difficult. The skilled sophomore wing had 29 points on 11-for-14 two-point shooting while also making 7 of 12 free throws.
“We knew KZ Okpala was a terrific player,” Miller said. “I think he’s one of the best players in the Pac-12. We hit about a six-minute stretch in the second half where we really defended him right away. We drew a charge and you have to make them. You can’t let him get to the rim. Other than that six-minute stretch, we really didn’t have an answer. I credit him.”
Since they have an extra day in the Bay area, the Wildcats are staying in Palo Alto on Thursday before moving to Oakland on Friday, and will likely dine out Thursday evening. On tighter-scheduled road trips, the Wildcats eat only at their hotel.
Stanford coach Jerod Haase said he believes Stanford will "break through" UA's 18-game winning streak over the Cardinal.
After his postgame press conference, Miller spoke with the Pac-12 Hotline's Jon Wilner, saying he's "not part of the solution" to the league's issues right now.