What a difference a year makes. Last year, the Sooners embarrassed the young Cats and taught them the first of many harsh lessons of the road. This year, the lesson was returned in kind as the Cats established their dominance early and steadily established themselves as a potential force to be reckoned with; amongst the contenders for the PAC 10 crown. While Derrick Williams continued to show why he considered to be one of the most exciting players on the West Coast, Coach Miller is ready to show that Arizona is more than a one trick pony.
It was the same modus operandi as before, get Williams in foul trouble and you can start to control Arizona. Unfortunately for Arizona's opponents, if you don't get that done within the first ten minutes of the game and maintain a single digit defecit, your road to victory is certainly a lot more difficult than you can imagine. While having a difference maker like Williams in the lineup is a wonderful thing, Miller is making sure that other players contribute and is able to spread the minutes and the points around even-handedly. You get the feeling that our guards are capable of stepping up if needed, but until they can stop the big fella down below, well there hasn't been much cause to go to plan B as of yet.
Capel's Sonners showed that they do have some potential but while Andrew Fitzgerald and Nick Thompson reached double digits, the Arizona group guard play did a better job of running the offense and providing opportunities for the Arizona frontcourt to allow the initial lead to be established and rarely threatened. There was the usual strong effort from the bench, with Jesse Perry, Kevin Parrom and Jordin Mayes being the main contributors tonight. I will also say that the Arizona starters are adapting to the formula of playing hard from the opening tip and not allowing the player rotation to affect their attitude.
Nuggets gleaned from the box score......
Arizona's tendancy of holding opponents under 40% from the field was broken tonight, but their dominance of the boards more than made up for it. Also, tonight was one of the better shooting displays for our Cats from beyond the arc, so much so that the 3pt percentage was higher than the free throws 68.8% to 66.7%. Turnovers were down to 10 and steals were up to six tonight as the Cats displayed an extremely efficient effort on both offense and defense.
Next game is Dec. 8th on Wednesday @ McKale versus Cal State Fullerton.