Analysis: Three reasons Arizona men's basketball lost to Baylor
Arizona men’s basketball was defeated by Baylor 58-49 at home on Saturday, dropping the Wildcats to 7-4. The zone defense deployed by Baylor caused Arizona's offense to be stagnant and took them out of their comfort zone. These three factors contributed to the ‘Cats' loss.
Arizona was out-rebounded 51-19 Saturday night, including 18-5 on the offensive glass. The leading rebounder on the night for the ‘Cats was Ira Lee, who had just five.
"I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of a stat sheet where it’s 50-19,” head coach Sean Miller said postgame. “50-19, 18 offensive rebounds. That was the story.”
Arizona Athletics later noted that there was an additional Baylor rebound added to the stat sheet.
Arizona was out-rebounded 27-11 in the first half, including 13-2 on the offensive end. Baylor used these to score 19 second-chance points, compared to UA's two. Baylor also finished around the rim well, scoring 32 points in the paint against 18 for the ‘Cats.
“It affects everything,” Miller said postgame when asked how being dominated on the glass affects the team. “That’s beyond dominated.”
10 points from the starting backcourt
Brandon Williams and Justin Coleman have both been fairly reliable for the ‘Cats this season. Williams came into the game averaging 12.8 points, while Coleman had been averaging 11.4. The two combined for just 10 points on the night, shooting a combined 3-15, including 2-11 from 3.
Williams was 1-9, including 1-7 from 3, never able to get into much of a rhythm. Coleman hit a big 3 to start the second half for Arizona, but down the stretch looked to facilitate more against the zone instead of score. While Coleman had three assists and no turnovers, he proved in Maui he was more than capable of taking games over, scoring 28 against Gonzaga and 16 against Auburn.
“I don’t know, we’re gonna find out,” Miller said postgame when asked how he expects the recovery to be for his team. “It’s kind of the first time for this group.”
The Wildcats scored just 49 points against Baylor, a season-low, and the lowest they had scored since 2004. Arizona hadn’t scored below 50 in a home game since 1985. The zone defense that Baylor used threw the offense off and limited the strengths of an Arizona team that has proven to be an effective free-throw shooting team all season, as they shot just six on the night.
“It’s the first time this group has played against a zone,” Miller said. “Obviously, we had that ‘deer in the headlights’ look. The way they choose to play zone, it’s not about carving it up with plays, it’s about putting guys in the right position.”
Arizona shot just 9-28 from 3-point range, and nobody besides Brandon Randolph, who continued his double-figure scoring streak with 15, had more than nine points.
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