What can you say about the performance the freshmen put on? In a real road test, the fearsome foursome of frosh put on a great show in Tucson to take down the Arizona Wildcats.
Shabazz Muhammad led the way with 23 points and unlike most of our previous games, started out on fire. 7 of the Bruins' first 15 points came at the hands of Muhammad as the Bruins raced out to a 19-3 advantage, silencing the always annoying McKale Center crowd. Then someone put the brakes on everything. No, not Sean Miller or any of his Wildcats, but Ben Howland, who decided that stepping on the throats of Arizona would not be a priority this day, and promptly yanked Shabazz from the game. In the ensuing minutes, the Wildcats expectedly made a game of it again.
Kyle Anderson had yet another great all around game, tabbing 12 rebounds against one of the better rebounding teams in the country. His four steals also proved crucial, as they led to fast breaks and his passing in the open court was once again on display.
Jordan Adams battled late second half cramps, but still had a great game for himself with 15 points and 5 rebounds. He seemed to be more efficient and judicious with his shot selection, and aside from a layup attempt gone bad where it looked like he wanted to dunk but couldn't get the elevation to do it, there was very little to complain about in Adams' game.
And yes, I said foursome above, because Tony Parker, in the absence of a concussed Travis Wear, was forced into 10 whole minutes of action. No, he wasn't perfect, getting beaten on the interior once and coming way too far out to challenge a jumpshot when Arizona had been ice cold from the outside all game long, but his defensive presence made a difference when he was in there. He showed flashes of his offensive game as well, receiving a drop off pass in perfect position to get an easy layup, and then late in the second half with the Wildcats closing in, dropping in a high arcing turnaround jumper for an and-1. That would have to be the enduring memory of Parker for this game, because he was quickly substituted out after making his free throw. So much for good play earning you more minutes.
This was evident when it was David Wear that ended up playing 31 minutes, mostly over Parker, and sorry to say, sucking for most of them. Whether it was the terrible hero ball shots he puts up that gets him 6 field goals on 15 attempts, or his total lack of presence on the defensive glass that had to be picked up by Anderson, it seems clear there's nothing that Ben Howland's pets can screw up that will earn them a seat on the pine. While Parker gets substituted out after making positive contributions, we get to watch the center that plays completely selfishly chuck shots and give the Wildcats a way back into a game that they should never have been in.
Yes, the Wildcats should never have been close in this game. Their shot selection was atrocious. Settling for 3's, 24 of them in all, when we have such a Charmin soft interior without Parker is coaching malpractice, and Sean Miller just gave a lot of ammunition to those who believe he is overrated.
But you won't catch me shedding any tears for the Wildcats or their fans tonight. This one was for the frosh. It was their game to take charge of and they did. I've never had more faith in their ability to change games when given the opportunity, and I've never had less faith in the man in charge of the program to give them those opportunities to succeed.