Arizona was unable to come away with a win in Corvallis on Sunday night. Read on to find out more about the game, including who played best for Arizona, what the key moments were, and more.
Arizona hung with Oregon State, but could not find an answer down the stretch, falling 58-56 to Oregon State. Here’s a closer look at what happened:
Arizona Player of the Game:
T.J. McConnell – The point guard was a major reason that the Wildcats were able to stay in the game late. McConnell had his second straight game with a solid offensive performance, hitting 6 of his 12 shots and finishing with 13 points. He also pulled down a team-high six rebounds while dishing out six assists.
The point guard couldn’t do it all though and had little help from his teammates as only Gabe York had more than two made baskets.
With just over a minute to go in the first half, T.J. McConnell stole the ball from Olaf Schaftenaar and coasted down the court for a steal to cut Oregon State’s lead to just one. McConnell immediately turned around and intercepted a pass and found Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in transition. The forward was fouled and hit both of his free throws, allowing Arizona to go into the locker room leading 21-20 at halftime.
It seemed that whenever a big sequence happened for Arizona, McConnell was involved. With the score tied at 39, the point guard came off a screen and tossed a soft alley oop to Kaleb Tarczewski for a huge dunk. After a missed Oregon State shot, McConnell used a similar screen and hit a pull up jumper to give the Wildcats a four-point lead.
The Beavers stormed back to tie the game and with 22 seconds remaining Langston Morris-Walker drove right past Stanley Johnson for an easy layup. The Wildcats tried to answer, but after not getting anything going, McConnell was forced to take an off balance runner that didn’t fall and the Beavers came away with the victory.
Stats of the Night:
51 - The Oregon State Beavers made 20 of their 39 shots, 51 percent, in the game. It was the second highest total that the Wildcats have allowed this season, following a 52-percent performance from San Diego State. While not all of the Beavers’ shots were easy to come by, many were uncontested and easy to knock down.
Oregon State isn’t a good team by any means and this loss is really going to hurt the Wildcats in the long run. It is going to make winning the conference title that more difficult and will likely play a major factor in the tournament ranking and regional advantage come March unless Arizona has only one or two losses left.
More importantly, this Arizona team has now lost to two teams that had no business even being within striking distance. Both times, the defense had several major let downs and the Wildcats just could not answer on the offensive end. It looked like the ship had righted itself after the UNLV loss, but several of those weaknesses were glaring the entire game against Oregon State.
For being projected first round NBA draft picks, I’m a little disappointed with how Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson disappeared at the end. Both Hollis-Jefferson and Johnson had four fouls in the game, and each only made two baskets all night long. Hollis-Jefferson finished with 14 points because of free throws, but both were completely silent down the stretch.
McConnell is a good basketball player, but the last play probably should have gone to Johnson or Hollis-Jefferson. The Wildcats need more leaders on the floor and often times it looks like they don’t have more then McConnell at this point.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"We didn't deserve to win the game," Miller said. "We had probably three or four just bad basketball plays as well. We fouled two times in essence 90 feet from the rim, and gave them points. We had a couple simple ball screens in which we were switching and messed up and didn't do. Those are things that we do all the time."
“I was just trying to penetrate and let the game to come to me,” McConnell said. “I might have forced a couple of shots. There’s really nothing to be said about our defense.”
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Game Thoughts: Arizona vs. Oregon