clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Chase Jeter is ‘incrementally getting better’, but still questionable vs. UCLA

arizona-wildcats-basketball-schedule-2019-20-takeaways-analysis-best-games Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Jeter’s sore back is “incrementally getting better” but the big man is still questionable for Saturday’s road game against the UCLA Bruins, Arizona coach Sean Miller told Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star on Friday.

“I think he’s better right now than he would have been (Thursday) afternoon and that’s really all we can bank on,” Miller said. “I don’t know if he’ll play. Wouldn’t surprise me if he does not play. But it’s too early to tell because in the next 12, 16, 20 hours he might feel a lot better.”

Jeter, who suffered back spasms last Saturday against Oregon State, went through warmups before the Arizona Wildcats’ loss to USC on Thursday, but gingerly. The Wildcats badly missed his interior presence, getting outrebounded and outscored in the paint by 12 in the 80-57 drubbing.

USC center Nick Rakocevic finished with 27 points on 13-of-17 shooting.

Arizona also missed Jeter’s ability to score on the low block, shooting a season-worst 28 percent at the Galen Center. The redshirt junior is UA’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer.

“Chase is important on defense. He’s important on offense, gives us a guy who can score and get fouled around the basket. And the difference without him, it isn’t that the other guys can’t do it, it’s just we don’t have that depth up front. So with him and without him, we’re two different teams,” Miller said after the game.

6-foot-9 Ryan Luther started at center and 6-foot-5 Dylan Smith started at power forward with Jeter out. 6-foot-7 Ira Lee was the lone frontcourt player off the bench.

“That’s the smallest team in 15 years that I’ve ever had on the court,” Miller said.

On average, the Bruins are the second tallest team in the nation, per KenPom, so Saturday’s game could get ugly if Jeter misses his second straight game. UCLA’s third-leading scorer is 7-foot-1 freshman Moses Brown, who the Bruins usually start alongside 6-foot-9 Chris Smith or 6-foot-10 Jalen Hill.

In all, five of UCLA’s nine rotation players are listed at 6-foot-8 or taller. The Bruins are currently listed as 1.5-point favorites for Saturday’s tilt.

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. MST on ESPN2.