Arizona was unable to defeat Oregon on Thursday night. Read on to see numerous points on why the Wildcats could not get it done.
suffered its first loss of the season in a game that was controlled by the opposition for virtually the entire contest.
The Wildcats fell to the Oregon Ducks 70-66 in Eugene on Thursday night and the Cats' difficulties in the first half finally caught up to them.
UA actually positioned itself to tie the game with less than 30 seconds remaining, but Nick Johnson drove into traffic and turned the ball over.
The Wildcats' problems for much of their first 14 games were prevalent once again, but their luck ran out and they lost to a team that played efficiently on the offensive side of the ball.
The loss drops UA to 2-1 in Pac-12 play, but if there is a silver-lining, the opposition isn't going to get any tougher than the Ducks, who are one of the early favorites in the Pac-12.
Mark Lyons led Arizona with 21 points on 7-for-15 shooting and also dished out four assists. The senior continued his impressive offensive season and is one of the main reasons the Wildcats were in the contest late. The downside to Lyons' performance on Thursday night were his four turnovers, which tied for the team high.
Arizona's starting backcourt committed eight of the team's 15 turnovers with both Lyons and starting shooting guard Nick Johnson coughing up the ball four times each. These are problems that continue to arise and the last thing the Wildcats can afford is their backcourt failing to take care of the ball. They have survived up until Thursday, but who knows how many more games it will cost them going forward?
Aside from the four turnovers, Johnson had a solid game. The sophomore shot 5-for-9 from the floor to score 12 points and filled out his stat line with six rebounds, two assists, three steals and a pair of blocks. He has been one of the best players on the team all season, so if he can avoid turning the ball over so often, Arizona's offense could take off.
Forward Solomon Hill did all he could to keep the Wildcats fighting. The senior concluded the night with 16 points, six rebounds and a pair of assists. Hill connected on 50 percent of his shots and only turned the ball over once, but it wasn't enough to propel UA over the top.
Perimeter defense has been one of Arizona's strong suits this season, but the Wildcats were ineffective against Oregon's impressive outside shooting. The Ducks connected on seven out of 11 attempts from beyond the arc and it turned out to be one of the biggest factors in UO's favor.
Oregon played better team ball than Arizona did on Thursday night. The Ducks dished out 17 assists as a team compared to just 13 turnovers. The Wildcats could only muster up 11 assists in comparison to their 15 turnovers.
Oregon defended the Wildcats well over the floor. On top of forcing UA into 15 turnovers, the Ducks also blocked six shots and hounded whoever was handling the ball for the Wildcats throughout the contest. Oregon was the aggressor more often than not and had UA playing hesitantly on both ends of the floor.