Tonight's game at McKale concluded the first half of the Pac-10 season, and the Wildcats might've played their most complete game of the season while doing so. Despite their star player battling an injured hand and thumb, they received contributions from every man who stepped on the court, and it was a complete team effort.
Heading into the game (or any previous Arizona game for that matter), if someone had told you Derrick Williams would have three points and two fouls at halftime, would you have thought there was any chance Arizona was winning? Probably not. Well tonight, they weren't only winning, but they were dominating the Trojans at every facet of the game. MoMo Jones, who has finished with 10+ points in four straight games, was shredding USC's defense, and Kyle Fogg was locked in from the perimeter. Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom continued their strong play at both ends of the court, and Parrom delivered a highlight reel coast-to-coast slam dunk that ignited the McKale Center crowd of 14,613. And despite just three points in the first half, Derrick Williams still finished with 20 points and four rebounds on the night.
One of the big stories from Thursday night's game against UCLA was the emergence of Alex Jacobsen, and he contributed again Saturday night. He did commit a few mental errors from a lack of playing time, but he continued to be a "tree" on the defensive end of the court, and even scored a basket late in the 2nd half to help put USC away.
Much more after the jump...
As the first half of Pac-10 play concludes, Arizona fans have to feel confident about their team's chances going forward. While the Cats do have a similar conference record to last year's team, the fact is that there's no comparing the two. This 2010-2011 team gets after every opponent on the defensive end of the court, and they're learning to score without Derrick Williams. MoMo Jones and Jordin Mayes are finally playing like a point guards, and as long as guys like Solomon Hill, Kevin Parrom, Jesse Perry, Kyle Fogg, and Jamelle Horne continue to contribute, this team has the potential to do a lot of damage in the Pac-10 and NCAA tournaments.
Stat of the Game:
Derrick Williams scored 20 points in just 18 minutes. For those of you who struggle with math, that's more than a point a minute. If you can do that on a nightly basis, you're a special player. Derrick Williams is a special player.
Angelo Chol Update:
2011 recruit Angelo Chol made his official visit this weekend, and he was seen having a good time at the game. He probably won't make a decision until February 17th, and most feel that he's an Arizona lean. His commitment would be a huge win for Sean Miller and Arizona, and we need his size and skill-set down low.
Arizona will kick off the 2nd half of Pac-10 play on Thursday night as they take on the Stanford Cardinal (11-9, 4-5) in Palo Alto at 7:00PM. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.