Breakdown: UA wins ugly over Utah

Feb 11, 2012, 11:56 PM | Updated: Feb 12, 2012, 12:18 am

The Lowdown: A win is a win right? That is the only way
to describe Arizona’s home win over conference bottom
feeder Utah. On paper, the Wildcats should have handled the Utes
(0-7 on the road in conference play) especially with how hot they
have been as of late, but found themselves down eight points at the
half. They were lucky to not be down more.

All through the first half the Wildcats could not make a basket
including a brutal stretch early in the game where they started 2-
for-9
from the field. If it wasn’t for those two Solomon Hill buckets, the
Wildcats would have been shut out from the field in the first 10
minutes of action.

A 10-5 run to close out the first half rolled over into the second
half as the Wildcats caught fire from deep. In the second half, the
team went 7-of-12 from deep on their way to a 70-61 victory.

What went right for Arizona? Steals and threes. The team
has lived
and died on forcing turnovers with their pressure defense and
making threes to counter their clear lack of size. Today was no
different. Arizona ‘s 10 steals (six by Kyle Fogg) and 11 made
threes were
the difference again.

When it was over? Can it be a slump buster, who knows?
When Nick Johnson nailed a three with just over a minute to play,
he sealed the game for the Wildcats.

Who stepped up for Arizona? Nobody needed a good
game more than Nick Johnson, and he got it. Not only did he seal
the game with a big three, but he began the comeback with a late
three in the first half. Seeing the ball go through the net was just
what the freshman needed.

Stat of the Game: 7:0 from Josiah Turner was by far his
best assist-to-turnover ratio of the season to date. As a matter of
fact, Turner only had 11 games with more assists than turnovers
before today.

They said it: “I made a couple shots and Brendon hit
some. I see them hit shots and that propels me and they were
feeling good today.” – Nick Johnson, on the Wildcats’ contagious
shooting.

What it means: Now the Wildcats stand at 18-8 (9-4) and
have a credible record for an NCAA Tournament bid. Despite how
“bad” the Pac-12 has been this season, the Wildcats may have a
strong enough résumé to make it whether they win the conference
tournament or not.

What’s Next: The real test begins now for the Wildcats as
they travel north to face Washington State (13-11,5-7) on Thursday
and get a rematch at Washington (16-8, 9-3) on Saturday. The last
three contests between the Wildcats and Huskies have been decided
by a combined five points, including an overtime thriller in the
championship game of the Pac-10 Tournament last spring.

Penguin Air

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