I am staring at the Arizona Wildcats and Florida Gators box score with confusion right now.
Before the game, I was thinking the Wildcats would get slaughtered against a No. 12 team that had played tough as nails against the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the nation. The Gators had a glut of very, very good guards, and Arizona's point guard situation looked doomed with Jordin Mayes being a non-factor and Josiah Turner becoming a literal non-factor.
But you know what happened: Arizona took it to overtime with a heady play by Solomon Hill and lost 78-72 in overtime.
The loss just shows that while erratic, Sean Miller's teams can play with anyone despite a lack of a superstar on the roster. Below the jump is a look at some crazy stats this game produced, including my thoughts on Jesse Perry going from unknown JUCO transfer to legitimate professional basketball player.OK, maybe that was a tease. I don't think Jesse Perry will make it in the NBA. Will he make it TO the NBA? It's possible, but if anything, I think Perry is in the process of carving out a very good overseas basketball career or in the D-League.
Look, the dude scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had two assists against the Gators. He did that while playing mostly center. Remember, ideally, this was a guy who should be playing the small forward spot had his big men teammates earned their right to play at all. Perry is not all that big or strong, doesn't have great hops, but somehow managed to put up those numbers against Patric Young.
Yes, the Patric Young that is slated to go No. 14 overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, according to Draft Express. Yes, the Patric Young that had his career day against a size-deficient Arizona team. Perry did give up 25 points and 10 rebounds to Young, but this is a guy who might be the most physically intimidating big man in NCAA hoops.
Not bad, I say.
Perry has been doing this every night. He's a scrapper and a winner, and that's why Miller likes him so much. But it goes beyond basketball, too. Perry had a child over the summer, and you know that's added motivation for anyone to work toward a way to support their little ones.
It's just another interesting storyline in Tucson; Miller's prized, five-star recruits sometimes don't pan out nearly as well as a hard-working, blue-collar guy from an obscure community college. Hm.
Other interesting statistics for you:
- Remember halfway through last year, when only one player, Hill, had played more than 30 minutes in a game. It's a new season, isn't it? Five players went more than 30 minutes on Wednesday, though the overtime helped that number.
- As much as Arizona got beaten down on the inside, giving up 17 offensive rebounds, the Wildcats won on the perimeter. Billy Donovan was upset his guards took so many shots and didn't get the ball to Young more often.
- Bradley Beal, who is projected to go 10th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by Draft Express, was quiet, scoring nine points in 35 minutes. The other Florida guards were pretty much atrocious. Erving Walker went 3-for-16, and Kenny Boynton went 2-for-11. Sure, some of it was bad shot selection, but credit Arizona's defense. It was reminiscent of Kyle Fogg shutting down an All-American in Nolan Smith in the Sweet 16 last season. Plus, Fogg dropped 19 points on the Gators. Not bad.
- I think Sean Miller just might stick with the starting lineup of Nick Johnson, Fogg, Kevin Parrom, Hill and Perry. Parrom's playmaking -- he had 13 efficient points and five assists -- abilities combined with Hill's should make that starting lineup versatile and help the team get out of the gates quickly.
- Finally, Hill had his first bad game in a while. Still, that foul drawn before the overtime and down by three points, no matter if you think it was a bad call (it was) was smart as hell.