Arizona leads the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds per-game (12.7) and in the last two games it has recorded 20-plus offensive boards, but there has been a downside to that.
In the loss on the road against Washington State UA were 11 of 28 on layups which helped result in 22 offensive-rebounds. With so many missed shots at the rim, the Wildcats are finding more opportunities for second chances but missing that many shots can come back and bite them later in the season.
“I want it to balance out,” Tommy Lloyd said after Wednesday’s 82-67 win over USC. “I don’t want to miss so many shots, so then there’s so many offensive rebounds available. I mean, that would be my preference. I would rather have 12 or 13 offensive rebounds and six or seven more makes. It’s great we’re offensive rebounding, it’s better than not offensive rebounding, but we need to start making some shots.”
The finishing got a little better at home against USC where UA went 10 of 26 on layups and grabbed 21 offensive rebounds.
“We hit more shots today than we did against Washington State, so I think we’re headed in the right direction,” Keshad Johnson said. “Offensive rebounds are a good category every time, whether we made the shots or not. We want to finish strong around the rim. That’s all he’s trying to say.”
Shooting those numbers at the rim will only bring down your offensive numbers. While UA is first in scoring in the Pac-12 (90.6), in the last two games they have only averaged 76 points and finishing has been a big key to that drop in scoring. With all the misses Lloyd is looking for his players to go strong to the rim and finish.
“If you have a layup you got a responsibility to deliver for your team,” Lloyd said. “I don’t care what they’re in. I mean, it’s a layup. And layups aren’t easy, they’re not, but good teams make layups.”
The interior game remains a big part of Arizona’s offense. Per Hoop-Math.com, the Wildcats attempt 47.1 percent of their shots at the rim and make them at a 63.1 percent clip. They also shoot 73.5 percent at the rim in transition, though against USC there were several misses when on the run.
“When you shoot a layup you have a responsibility to make it or get fouled,” Lloyd said. “Those are your two options, and you don’t get any extra points for dipsy do or jumping in the air and trying to do something crazy.”
Arizona is shooting 54.1 percent for the season on 2-pointers, which is 51st in Division I. But the last two games it has shot 37.5 and 40.9 percent, respectively.