Arizona was able to defeat Texas Tech on Saturday for numerous reasons. Read on for a closer look at those reasons and more.
In its first road test of the season, Arizona
was able to build a cushion in the first half and steadily pull away as the Wildcats defeated Texas Tech
The victory moves UA to 5-0 overall and gives the team a little more confidence when it comes to playing on the road. The Red Raiders were undefeated coming into the game and Arizona was still able to hold control for the entire contest.
It was a strong performance from sophomore Nick Johnson. The starting shooting guard finished the night with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting, providing Arizona with a consistent scoring option throughout the game. Johnson's fine all-around showing included five rebounds, two steals and an assist.
The play of Mark Lyons is really what gave the Wildcats their initial boost. The Wildcats' starting point guard finished with 14 points, scoring 12 of them in first half. The transfer from Xavier had his shooting stroke going in the first 20 minutes of the game and when he pushed the ball up the floor quickly, UA was able to keep Texas Tech's defense off balance.
Solomon Hill also did the majority of his offensive damage in the first half on his way to a 14 point night. Hill scored 10 of those points in the first frame and helped sparked UA's double-digit halftime lead. Hill's contributions went beyond the scoring department, grabbing four rebounds, dishing out three assists and making a big impact on the defensive end of the floor with three steals.
Freshman Grant Jerrett was one of three freshman big men to make a significant contribution on Saturday night. Jerrett led all reserves with 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the floor. Jerrett provided contributions both inside and out, hitting a three and playing physical in the paint.
Fellow freshman Brandon Ashley contributed 12 points in the winning effort. The forward knocked down four out of five shot attempts and grabbed three rebounds in 22 minutes of action. Ashley was very active while on the floor and put himself in good position to score nearly every time he touched the ball.
Center Kaleb Tarczewski was the other freshman big man to make a sizable impact, but he did most of his damage on the boards. The 7-footer finished with just six points, but he was the game leader in rebounds with 13 and he blocked a pair of shots as he held control of the paint.
Tarczewski's rebounding effort was one of the keys to the big victory, but he had a pair of dunks that gave UA fans a glimpse of what you can expect from the big man once the team figures out how to consistently get him involved.
The Wildcats were very efficient scoring, which was evident in their 56.6 shooting percentage. Arizona also knocked down eight three point attempts and went 17-for-21 from the foul line.
In contrast, Texas Tech finished the game shooting at a clip of 34.9 percent from the floor and just 28.6 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Arizona's defense has improved over the first few weeks of the campaign and it led to the Wildcats holding what was the nation's top scoring team heading into the contest to just 57 points.
The increased size in the interior continues to be a big boost to Arizona's efforts on both ends of the floor. UA dominated the glass, out-rebounding Texas Tech 41-26 and its 10 offensive rebounds led to 16 second chance points. In the scoring department, the Wildcats outscored the Red Raiders in the paint 44-28.