Arizona Wildcats basketball: Finding positives in the Southern Miss game

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

While the 27 turnovers, poor point guard play and lack of production from the Arizona Wildcats' big men were problems, there were some good signs in the 63-55 UA win.

Last night, gut reaction was that the Arizona Wildcats' 63-55 win against Southern Miss was a bad sign of things to come. That could be the case, but it's worth noting that there were positives to take away from, again, a win.

  • Nick Johnson had his third game in a row where he looked less like a role player and more like a sophomore turning into a star. While his scoring jumped out, it was his controlled play -- we're overlooking six turnovers because everyone else on Arizona had a few, at the least -- defense and knack for timing that made him clearly the best player on the floor. He's starting to answer our questions of what he can become.
  • Arizona's shooting was also impressive. As a team, Arizona is hitting 41.3 percent of its three-pointers on the season, and Tuesday it was no different. In one of their worst shooting performances of the year and the most out-of-sync they've been, the Wildcats still connected on 45 percent of their shots (16 of 19 were assisted). That's still pretty darn good, and Arizona is currently sixth in the nation in field goal percentage. Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom continued their stellar shooting from deep and hit two threes in the final five minutes to hold off the Golden Eagles. Combined, the seniors have hit 24-of-48 from deep (that's 50 percent).
  • The Wildcats would like to force their will on other teams with size, but when that broke down on Tuesday, they showed that they can succumb to matching up with other teams -- only, they'll still be the better unit. Kevin Parrom played in a small-ball unit in place of Brandon Ashley to start the second half, and he and Hill did a fine job rebounding when the young big men struggled.
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