KELLY: This loss is on the offense - Tucson News Now

KELLY: This loss is on the offense

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Just a few quick thoughts after watching the tape of the Wildcats loss to Oregon State.

OK you know me well. Maybe not so quick.

I'm not sure this is what I would call a BAD loss. It's not good. But the Beavers appear to be a very good defensive team, maybe one of the better ones the Cats might face this year so it remains to be seen how bad a loss this is in the long run.

I thought for the most part it was a good defensive game for the Wildcats. Where they had issues in the second half was they made some dumb fouls, especially from Stanley Johnson.

Johnson is as good an offensive player as I've seen in my seven years covering the Wildcats, but he has holes at the defensive end of the floor.

He got killed off the dribble in several instances and silly fouls forced him to the bench with foul trouble.

Elliott Pitts made some nice help plays defensively but both he and surprisingly Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also got beat on isolation plays in the second half.

Where Arizona struggles defensively is they have rookies in Johnson and Pitts on the floor playing Pac-12 games for the first time. They are going to make mistakes.

In the end though UA allowed 58 points on the road. I can't call that a bad defensive effort.

But Arizona might have to find a way to protect Brandon Ashley because he too has looked lost at time this season defending away from the basket.

I thought the Wildcats lost this game at the offensive end of the floor.

Kick me if you've heard this before. Arizona missed free throws; nine to be exact. You're not going to win close games doing that.

But more importantly. They missed too many shots period. The Wildcats went 1-for-10 from three-point land in the first half.

Most of those were good shots in my opinion but Hollis-Jefferson shooting threes is NOT a good shot and three of those nine misses were BAD misses (#airballs).

Kaleb Tarczewski was persona non-grata in this game. My biggest concern with this offense as a whole is they can't get Zeus consistently involved in it.

Even in a 23-point win over Arizona State the Wildcats repeatedly turned the ball over trying to feed it into the low-post.

We've talked about how Arizona has put up some amazing defensive scoring droughts on their opponents this season.

Sunday night it was the Wildcats who went almost six minutes without a 1st half field goal.

They still can't shoot their way through a zone defense, but is that a concern? How many teams play zone to the extent the Beavers do. I just don't think, most man-to-man teams are going to suddenly start playing zone against the Wildcats just because they struggle against it.

But then again who knows? If Sean Miller, the ultimate anti-zone coach, proclaims HE might start playing zone. Than all bets are off.

UA not only missed threes on Sunday, they missed too many bunnies too. Easy shots in and around the basket were forced hard. That's how you end up shooting 38% for the night.

The Wildcats went to a three-guard lineup late in the game on Sunday night.

I have no problem with that if the guards are going to crash the boards, which in several instances they didn't. On two possessions in the final three minutes, Gabe York and McConnell launched threes and all three guards proceeded to retreat as soon as the ball hit the air, leaving Hollis-Jefferson and Johnson to battle four Beavers for the rebound.

When you're not making shots and you're three guards are leaving the two bigs to fend for themselves on the offensive glass. That's a recipe for a road loss. 

The Beavers outrebounded Arizona by six on a night when the Cats couldn't even grab easy rebounds. There was way too much tapping the ball into the air and not enough going up and securing possession of the rock.

Bottom line is Johnson and Tarczewski have to get more than seven shots and Ashley has to shoot better than two-for-eight for this team to win consistently at any road venue.

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