The Lowdown: Shorthanded with the losses of Kevin Parrom
and Jordin Mayes for the season, the Wildcats took the court against a
game Cardinal team. It was going to take a resilient effort on both ends
of the floor and that is exactly what coach Sean Miller got.
Tough defense and turnovers down the stretch led to the Wildcats
breaking away from what was a close, tough contest all day long. After a
late three by Brendon Lavender gave the Wildcats an eight point lead, the
backcourt began forcing turnovers left, right, and center.
Nick Johnson added the exclamation point on a breakaway dunk after
another Josiah Turner steal and look ahead from the ground. That play
was the end of any hope for the Cardinal as the Wildcats pulled away and
took the 56-43 win. This was the the first Bay Area sweep executed by
any Pac-12 team this season.
What went right for Arizona? Defensive execution was the key
victory. The Wildcats forced nine turnovers, including the seven steals
that sealed the win. The game plan on defense was executed precisely
in causing turnovers and misses at the rim.
When it was over? With just over two minutes remaining,
nailed a jumper in the lane after not one, not two, but
three fakes to get his man in the air. That shot extended the lead to 49-
43 and the Wildcats never looked back.
Who stepped up for Arizona? It was a tough shooting night for
all around for the Wildcats, but the defense stepped up to yet another
challenge. The defense was sparked by Josiah Turner who pressured all
game resulting in three steals and seven rebounds for the freshman
Who needed to step up? The Wildcats got a unique
contribution from every player this game. Whether it as Lavender’s two
threes, Angelo Chol’s four blocks, Hill’s nine rebounds, Turner’s three
Johnson’s six rebounds, or KyleFogg’s three threes. This was an all-
Stat of the Game: 25%. That is what the Cardinals shot from
the field for the game (16-for-64). The Wildcats are playing some
inspired defense despite their noticeable lack of size and depth.
What it means: The Bay Area sweep puts the Wildcats at 16-8
(7-4) on the season and starting to build a resume for the NCAA
Tournament. They are now 1.5 games behind Washington just two weeks
before their re-match.
What’s Next: A homestand against the two newest
members of the conference. First is a showdown with 2nd place
Colorado on Thursday and then the ‘Cats welcome the 11th place Utah
Utes on Saturday.