Analysis: Green leads Arizona in victory over Washington as coronavirus alters tournament
Arizona men's basketball returned to Las Vegas, Nev., looking for revenge following a defeat Saturday against Washington in which the Wildcats hit only five shots in the first half and were unable to mount a late game comeback.
The revenge tour will continue at least one more day.
Josh Green played perhaps his best game of the season, and Arizona forced 19 turnovers on its way to a 77-70 victory in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament, setting up another game on Thursday against USC.
Green’s performance, adjustments after halftime and virus concerns are just some of the things that took place on Wednesday.
With the coronavirus continuing to impact events all over the U.S. and world, the Pac-12 chose to follow the path of many conference tournaments and allow only essential access to the tournament the rest of the week, meaning fans will not be allowed into T-Mobile Arena following the action on Wednesday.
In a statement released after the first session of games, the Pac-12 said that “while we understand the disruption this will cause to our many fans, we have made this decision in an effort to do our part in helping to limit the spread of the virus and in the interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes, campus communities, working and volunteer event personnel and all those who attend Pac-12 events.”
This announcement came after many conference tournaments already began playing without crowds, with the NCAA eventually stepping in and saying that the NCAA Tournament will be conducted without fans in the arena.
“If that’s the decision, I’m sure it was well thought out,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said following the victory. “It’s in the best interest of these guys, and that’s what counts the most.”
After only scoring eight points on Saturday against Washington, Green had his highest scoring performance since the first game of the Wooden Legacy in November. He finished with 29 points on 10 free throws, including 3-4 from 3-point range.
“We lost last week to Washington. So, our biggest thing was coming back to practice, working on what we’ve got to work on, come to the tournament all guns going,” Green said. “I think our team did a great job. We really locked in last week at practice and I think we’re going to keep it going.”
Miller spoke high praise of the freshman as well.
“This might have been his best overall game of the year today,” Miller said. “It’s great to see him play well in March, especially because we missed him when he didn’t go with us to [Los Angeles].”
Green missed the USC and UCLA road trip with a lower back injury, a trip that saw Arizona go 0-2, including just 48 points against USC, who they play on Thursday.
Smooth Second Half
Washington was able to hang around until late in the game despite shooting just 3-23 from 3-point range and turning the ball over 19 times.
The Wildcats were unable to pull away thanks to turnover issues of their own, with 10 in the first half.
Whether it be adjusting to the bright lights or playing away from McKale Center, Arizona locked in after halftime, with only 3 turnovers in the second half of the game.
Isaiah Stewart was also a force for the Huskies, scoring 29 points on the night but was limited after halftime. A big first half saw him score 18 points on 6-6 from the field, but foul trouble held him to just 11 points after halftime.
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