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Northern Arizona Preview

December 15th, 2015 News No Comments

Jason Thai

In the third game of a five game home stand, Arizona will look to continue their momentum against Northern Arizona on Wednesday night. NAU is 2-6 on the season and hasn’t played since last Saturday December 5th. The Lumberjacks have lost to Boise State and Gonzaga this season, both of whom have lost to the Wildcats.

Key Matchups
Kris Yanku vs Allonzo Trier – Yanku leads NAU in scoring and assists per game with 13.9 and 4.9. He is an excellent free throw shooter and Arizona must keep him away from the line. Trier continued his efficient play with 15 points on only 7 shots against Missouri. More importantly, he was 2-3 from three-point range, both of which came in the first half against the Tigers zone defense. Having another knock down shooter on the perimeter with Gabe York really opens up the offense for the Wildcats.

Ako Kaluna vs Dusan Ristic – Kaluna is NAU’s most physical inside presence and averages 7.9 rebounds a game. Ristic had 12 points and 6 rebounds against Missouri. He was able to bounce back from a subpar game against Fresno State, when he shot an uncharacteristic 0-5 from the free throw line. It was encouraging to see Ristic play aggressive against the Tigers which resulted in two dunks and blocks.

Justin Simon had a career high 10 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals on Sunday against Missouri. Simon played with boundless energy and was all over the court. Even though he picked up 4 fouls, he is the type of long and athletic perimeter player that could become a defensive stopper. With more playing time and confidence, Simon has great potential.

Chance Comanche is another freshman with vast potential and also had a breakout game against Missouri. Comanche had 10 rebounds in 13 minutes of action against the Tigers. 3 out of those 10 rebounds were offensive, which shows his activity around the basket. He is very agile for his size and displayed skill with great footwork in the post.

What To Look For
Good start. Arizona got off to a magnificent start against Missouri and never looked back. The Wildcats jumped to a 15-4 lead after the first four minutes of action (what Miller likes to call a war, each four-minute segment of each half).

Defense. Arizona held Missouri to 52 points and 30% from the field and 14% from three. The Wildcats were able to play with fantastic energy and aggressiveness on the defensive end for the whole 40 minutes, unlike their previous two games.

Unselfishness. The ball movement was wonderful against Missouri which resulted in a season high 20 assists. Players were passing up a good look for a great one.

Point guard play. The duo of Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright were only 1-10 from the field and 0-7 on three pointers against Missouri. They did, however combine for 9 assists. Look for them to shoot the ball much better against NAU.

NAU is a rested team looking for a huge win against Arizona. Their coach, Jack Murphy has ties to Arizona having been a student manager, recruiting coordinator, video analyst and director of operations from 1998 to 2006. Murphy knows the Arizona program well and his team will be ready to play against the Wildcats. Arizona will be looking to build upon their dominating win against Missouri and must continue to play a full game defensively, limit turnovers and improve in all aspects with a big primetime game on Saturday against UNLV.

Allonzo Trier wore the Kyrie 1 Double Nickel against Fresno State and the LeBron VII Red Carpet with red laces against Missouri.

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