Weber State notebook: Wildcats will have hands full against Arizona defense
Lenny Ignelzi, AP
SAN DIEGO — In watching film of Arizona this week in preparation for Friday’s NCAA tournament game, Weber State coach Randy Rahe admits he’s caught himself being a bit envious.
“They’re very impressive to watch, I’ve actually enjoyed watching them on film just because of how well coached they are and how good defensively they are,” said Rahe. “It’s a system I want to study when it’s all said and done. I’d sure like to guard how they guard.”
Arizona ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 58.1 ppg this season, and seventh in field goal defense at 38.1 percent.
In the efficiency defensive category, the Arizona Wildcats lead the country, allowing just 86.9 points per 100 possessions.
“They’re a fast team, they’re long, athletic, run the transition really well,” said Weber State center Kyle Tresnak.
Added Jordan Richardson, “they pride themselves on the defensive end. We know we’ve got to set hard screens and have a great pace on offense.”
Arizona coach Sean Miller was impressed by Weber’s defense as well.
“You can tell they take a lot of pride in defending the 3-point shot. Last year and this year if you combine them, I think they’re one of the tops in the nation in defending the 3-point shot both in attempts and percentage,” said Miller.
Opponents are shooting 32.6 percent from 3-point range against Weber State this year, while Arizona allows teams to shoot 31.4 percent.
PLAYER OF YEAR COMPARISONS: Friday’s game features Pac-12 Player of the Year Nick Johnson squaring off against Big Sky Player of the Year Davion Berry.
Asked in Thursday’s press conference to compare himself to Johnson, the first thing Berry said was, “he can jumper higher than me.”
Berry said he’s thankful for the opportunity to play against such an elite player and he believes it will be a good matchup. Johnson averaged 16.2 points this season, while Berry averaged 19.1 points.
“He can score the ball with the best of them,” said Arizona’s Johnson. “He’s a leader for their team and it's definitely going to be a matchup that I’m looking forward to, just trying to limit his easy looks that he gets on offense and if he’s guarding me, work him a little bit, make him work on defense.”
STRONG FROM DAY ONE: Weber State freshman guard Jeremy Senglin has been one of the unsung heroes of Weber State’s march to the Big Sky title this season.
When he started Weber’s season opener at BYU on Nov. 8, Senglin became the first true freshman to start the opener since 1976. He started every game since, too, averaging 11.2 points to earn Big Sky Freshman of the Year honors.
“He’s got a bright future. He does a lot of things well. He can shoot the ball, has a good feel for the game, has some toughness. He’s going to continue to grow in our program and be pretty darn good,” said Rahe. “He’s meant a lot to us, he’s been stable for us, which is what we needed.”
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