As if being stuck in a shooting slump wasn’t bad enough for Jemarl Baker Jr., now he has a hand injury that could cause him to miss time.
Arizona coach Sean Miller said Baker injured his hand during the first half of Saturday’s 81-76 home loss to UCLA. The redshirt junior is expected to have an X-ray to determine the severity of the injury.
“I don’t know if it’s broken, if it’s sprained,” Miller said of Baker, not specifying which hand. “We’re going to find out more over the next couple of days on his situation.”
Baker, who played 23 minutes on Saturday but only seven in the second half, had four points on 2-of-7 shooting but he missed all four 3-point attempts. He has missed all 15 3s the past three games, going 4 of 28 overall in that span, and is shooting just 34.3 percent from deep after nailing seven or more threes in two games earlier this season.
An ankle injury suffered early in the overtime win at Washington State on Jan. 2 coincided with the start of his cold spell, but Miller said the ankle was not a problem for Baker against UCLA.
If Baker has to miss time—Arizona begins a 3-game road trip on Thursday at Oregon State—either freshman Bennedict Mathurin or senior Terrell Brown Jr. could move into the starting lineup. Mathurin has averaged 14 points over the past four games, scoring all eight of his points on Saturday in a three-minute span in the second half.
“Now that we’ve played the games that we’ve played, we’ve got to give him a bigger role,” Miller said of Mathurin. “We have to get him in there more.”