Arizona vs Oral Roberts Preview
Coming off a huge win Saturday, Arizona will look to avoid a letdown against Oral Roberts on Tuesday. The Florida match up received an unprecedented amount of pregame hype and amazingly, the actual on court product far exceeded the build up. The key for the Wildcats will be to put that game behind them and focus on their task at hand.
The Golden Eagles are 5-4 on the season and are currently riding a two game win streak against lesser teams. Oral Roberts and Arizona have one common opponent in UTEP. The Wildcats won easily while the Golden Eagles lost by 20 points. However, that game was the season opener for Oral Roberts and they’ve shown improvement since then. The Golden Eagles pushed Oklahoma of the Big 12 to the brink in late November, ultimately falling by a single point.
Warren Niles is far and away Oral Robert’s star player. The explosive senior guard averages nearly 21 points and five rebounds per game. He shoots 55% from the field, including a scorching 52% from three-point range. Niles will provide a good test for Arizona’s perimeter defense, which allowed Florida to make 10 out of 18 threes. Backcourt bravado
: Arizona’s starting backcourt of Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson has been, for the most part, stellar. Johnson and Lyons are the Wildcats’ two leading scorers and have also emerged as go-to clutch players. Lyons put the game on his shoulders in the final seconds against Florida and delivered with one of the biggest shots in McKale Center history. His heroics have received plenty of attention nationally; that’s what happens when a player sticks a dagger in a top five team.
Johnson’s performance was less publicized, but no less important. He was the best player on the court Saturday, as he hit clutch shot after clutch shot. Late in the first half, when Arizona was down 11 and in danger of letting the game slip away, the confident sophomore nailed back-to-back threes to reenergize his team. In the second half, with Florida once again threatening to pull away, Johnson nailed another clutch three. He finished with 15 points and a game high four steals. Outlook
: The Wildcats didn’t pull off the epic win against Florida just to throw away their momentum on a loss to Oral Roberts. If Arizona does suffer a big win hangover, they should recover in plenty of time to put the Golden Eagles away.