Despite still giving up another big performance to a star player, Arizona willed its way to a signature road win in a 68-63 gutsy win over Gonzaga.
Gabe York and Allonzo Trier are beginning to become a dynamic senior/freshman duo, combining for 30 points, with Trier only needing nine shots to get to his 14.
This was not an easy win though, as Gonzaga dominated the first half through the performance of only two players. Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis combined for 51 of Gonzaga’s 63 points.
However, due to an uninspired defensive effort while solely relying on two players for offense, the Zags gave Arizona an opportunity to battle back into the game and they did just that.
Arizona got that lead and with a 60-59 advantage midway through the second half, Wiltjer finally cooled down. The All-American missed five straight shots, letting Arizona extend its lead to 66-61 with just over two minutes remaining.
York was sensational, having the ball barely touch the rim on three-point makes that were shot well behind the three-point line. His biggest play of the game would not come off of a basket, however, as he made the correct read on taking an extra second and finding an open Ryan Anderson in the lane for the dagger floater that gave Arizona a five-point lead and the win with 21 seconds left in the game.
Arizona was without Kaleb Tarczewski and was always going to be behind on the physical battle in the glass with Wiltjer and Sabonis inside. That was not the case though. Arizona was only -1 in the rebounding differential, with both York and Allen grabbing six rebounds apiece and their other starting backcourt partner Kadeem Allen snagging an additional five.
Their defensive effort showed in the Gonzaga box score. The five Gonzaga guards that played combined to shoot 3-17 and committed nine turnovers, the same amount of turnovers that Arizona had as an entire team.
Arizona is not going to be the defensive powerhouse they were for the past three seasons, but they showed that with enough effort and ball security that they are still a force to be reckoned with nationally.