The rundown: On Jeter's injury status, Coleman's special day, lucky No. 13 and Miller's message
Arizona men’s basketball shook off a loss to Oregon with an 82-71 win over Oregon State Saturday evening. The win keeps the UA at second in the Pac-12 standings as they head into a three-game road trip the next two weeks.
Here’s the most noteworthy topics following the win:
Jeter leaves game with injury
The Wildcats got a scare early in the first half when center Chase Jeter exited the game after falling hard on his back.
The 6-foot-11 senior rolled to the basket looking to scoop up a possible offensive rebound on Justin Coleman’s layup attempt, but Jeter was undercut by OSU’s Tres Tinkle as he jumped up toward the rim. Jeter lost hold of the rim and landed directly on his back.
According to head coach Sean Miller, Jeter’s injury doesn’t seem to be too serious.
“He’s certainly going to be okay,” Miller said. “We don’t look at it as significant, meaning a disc or anything like that. He fell, his back went into spasms, which happens a lot of times on a big guy like that. But I think he was starting to feel even a little bit better late in the game.
Jeter limped to the locker room with trainer Justin Kokoskie and remained there for the rest of the first half. He was able to come out and sit on the bench during the second half, then doing some brief stretches during timeout breaks.
As for the center’s status for Thursday’s game at USC, it’s still up in the air.
“We’re hopeful that we can get them back for next game, but we’re not there yet,” Miller said.
Senior’s special day
Coleman revealed after the game that his aunt passed away back in November and decided not to tell the team about it. Today was also her birthday, and the senior guard had one of the more memorable moments of his career – he notched his 1,000th career collegiate point.
“I had a little bit more to play for today, I didn’t tell these guys because I wanted to play for them as well, but today was pretty special for me,” Coleman said.
Miller credited Coleman for being able to battle through adversity that he faced at his previous two schools, Alabama and Samford. Coleman had his best game of conference play, scoring 14 points – including three 3s – with five assists and five steals.
“More than any guy on our team, he loves the game,” Miller said. “He’s always in the gym, and I think a big reason why he wanted to finish his career here is he wanted to play on that big stage again.
Lucky number 13
Arizona hit 13 of its 27 3s against the Beavers, a season-high mark for the team. The ‘Cats put an emphasis on taking better shots and focusing on ball movement after the Oregon game where they shot just 6-22. That strategy worked as UA’s starting guards (Coleman, Randolph and Williams) contributed 13 assists leading to three different players having three made 3s.
“We have to create driving opportunities so that we can get to the free throws line and create better overall look from the 3-point line Miller said. “Part of why we were 13 of 27 is we were able to create some really good, open 3-point shots.
Miller opened his press conference by thanking the 14,000+ that attended the game and delivered a heartfelt message on their impact.
“I’d like to really thank our crowd. They didn’t give up on us after losing a tough game Thursday night,” Miller said. “Part of the bounce back is to feel like you’re supported, especially here that you have that magical feel in McKale. And trust me, everyone feeds off of it … it was a big reason why we won,” Miller said.
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