Despite Jeter injury scare, Arizona defeats Oregon State 82-71

After losing their game to Oregon on Thursday, Arizona bounced back and got a win over OSU. 

Despite allowing Oregon State to shoot 51 percent and losing a Chase Jeter to injury, Arizona men's basketball prevailed 82-71 Saturday night to move to sole possession of second place in the conference, just a half game back of Washington. 

Arizona was coming off a loss against Oregon in which the Wildcats shot just 6-22 from three-point range and saw its leading scorer Brandon Randolph held under double-digits for the first time all season.

As it stood in the Pac-12, the Wildcats had no time to dwell, with just two days to plan for an Oregon State team that was just a half game behind them in the standings. The 'Cats used a season-high 13 3s to down the Beavers and scored 21 points off OSU turnovers.

The game wasn’t without a scare for Arizona, however. Jeter took a hard fall going for a rebound with 15:48 left in the half, laying on the court for a few minutes before being taken in to the locker room. 

Arizona's Chase Jeter holds his wrist in pain after falling hard during the Arizona-Oregon State game on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

Jeter did not return for the ‘Cats, depleting an already thin Arizona front court after the transfer of Emmanuel Akot. Ira Lee and Ryan Luther traded time at center, with Dylan Smith and even walk-on Jake DesJardins seeing action. Sean Miller said postgame he thinks the big man will be okay going forward.

“We’ll know more over the next couple of days, “ Miller said. “We don’t look at it as significant, meaning a disk or anything like that. We’re hopeful that we can get him back for our next couple of games."

Luther stepped up in the absence of Jeter, going for a season-high 16 points and 11 rebounds. The senior connected on 6-12 shots in extended time at center, looking much more confident than he has other times this season.

“Nothing changed,” Luther said. “We knew it started on the defensive end. I knew I was gonna have to play a little more at the five. I think between me, Ira [Lee] and Dylan [Smith] playing the 4/5, we kind of collectively filled that void.”

It was the Brandon Williams show early on, as Williams had 11 of the first 13 points for Arizona. Oregon State cut it to within 1 at 22-21, but Arizona used a 16-6 run over the final 8:18 of the half to take a 38-27 lead going into halftime.

Arizona's Brandon Williams (2) and Justin Coleman (12) celebrate a three during the Arizona-Oregon State game on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019 at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

The ‘Cats led despite shooting just 34 percent from the floor and allowing Oregon State to shoot 47 percent. The difference was the 3, of which Arizona made six to the Beavers’ zero. Arizona also was able to force the Beavers into 10 turnovers and effectively took reigning Pac-12 player of the week Stephen Thompson Jr. out of the game, as he did not score and picked up 3 first-half fouls.

Oregon State would battle back in the second half, thanks to the play of Tres Tinkle. Tinkle shot 14 of his 25 points in the second half and 10 rebounds for the game, using a three-point play to cut the Arizona lead to 55-48 with 12:13 left in the game. 

The Beavers got as close as 3 points, but in Jeter's absence, Arizona relied on its three-point shooting, which paid off. The ‘Cats shot 13-27 for the game, shooting 50 percent in the second half from 3 against a zone defense, something that has given the ‘Cats problems this season. 

Arizona had five players score in double figures, paced by Williams with 20. Luther had 16, Justin Coleman had 14, and Smith and Randolph scored 13 and 10, respectively. 

For Randolph and Coleman, all of their points came in the second half. Coleman eclipsed the thousand-point mark for his career on the night, after starting at Alabama and Samford before coming to Arizona as a graduate transfer this season. 

“More than any guy on our team, he loves the game,” Miller said. “I think a big reason that he wanted to finish his career here is that he wanted to play on that big stage again and see what he could do.”

The victory sets up a road-trip to Southern California to take on USC and UCLA. The Wildcats will take on USC on Thursday at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1, before concluding the trip Saturday at UCLA. 

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