Despite being the No. 10 ranked team in the country, there were plenty of doubts surrounding the Arizona Wildcats.
The Wildcats silenced the doubters on Saturday night.
Arizona (16-2, 4-1) emerged victorious from the battle of top-10 teams with a 69-51 blow out win over No. 8 Utah (14-3, 4-1). It was the Wildcats’ second win in a row after losing two of their previous four games.
Senior T.J. McConnell put the team on his shoulders and carried Arizona to victory. The guard scored 16 points on eight-of-10 shooting and was the best player on the floor for much of the game.
He was not alone in his strong effort.
It took freshman Stanley Johnson a little while to warm up, but when he did, his double-double helped push the game out of reach. Johnson scored a game-high 18 points, all in the second half, to go along with his 10 rebounds.
An early 10-2 Utah run to begin the game had more than a few Wildcats fans feeling uneasy, but Arizona righted the ship and cruised past the Utes the rest of the way. The Wildcats outscored Utah 38-25 in the second half.
Arizona just has Utah’s number. After beating them three times last season and again on Saturday, the Wildcats are a perfect 8-0 against the Utes since they joined the Pac-12.
Here’s how the Wildcats won their 16th game of the season, by the numbers:
Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski fouled out of the game with 5:30 remaining. He finished with seven points and five rebounds.
The Wildcats only needed six points from their bench to take home a victory on Saturday. Dustin Ristic (4) and Elliott Pitts (2) were the only two players to get a bucket off the bench for Arizona.
Arizona kept the majority of its play inside the three-point line as they attempted only seven shots from long range. It probably was a good thing the Wildcats did not have to rely on the 3 ball since they drained only one of those seven attempts.
McConnell and Johnson may have stolen the show, but junior Brandon Ashley had a solid game as well. The forward scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Arizona had a +21 rebound advantage, pulling down 40 boards compared to Utah’s 19. The Wildcats dominated the offensive glass, coming up with 17 offensive rebounds.
The Wildcats have struggled from the free throw line all season and did so again against Utah. Arizona shot just 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) from the charity stripe.