A look back: Arizona vs. USC
It was obvious from the onset of Saturday's affair that the Arizona was determined to come out and make a statement against USC after losing big at home to UCLA the prior Thursday. The Wildcats jumped out in front of the Trojans by a wide margin early and never looked back en route to a 24-point blowout victory. USC had a tough night, especially on the offensive end of the floor. UA made it difficult for it to locate quality shot attempts and it caused the Trojans to struggle staying in the game. On the defensive side, USC couldn't keep up with Arizona's balanced attack, which featured four starters reaching double figures on scoring. There were several factors in UA's impressive night on both the offensive side of the ball and defense. Numerous players were able to make a positive impact and it led to one of the Wildcats' stronger efforts as a team this season. Offensive balance As previously mentioned, four of five Arizona starters scored 10 points or more. Two of the players who reached double figures were freshman big men who have struggled to produce consistently. Both Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley put together solid outings in the post and the Wildcats will need more nights like that from their freshman starters going forward if they want to make a deep run in the postseason. Defense Holding an opponent to under 30 percent shooting for an entire game is often going to render the type of result that came from Saturday's game. Arizona made it difficult for USC to locate quality shots and when the Trojans were able to get open, they simply couldn't knock their attempts down with any consistency. UA's strong effort prevented any player on USC's roster from reaching double figures in scoring. Determination Big losses, such as the one Arizona fell victim to on Thursday, often serve as a wake up call to the team on the losing side. The Wildcats seemed to have that loss in the back of their head on Saturday and, instead of letting it bother them negatively, they used it as motivation. UA wasted no time getting out to a big lead and it never allowed the Trojans to get close. Instead of letting anything negative carry over from Thursday's loss, Arizona came out focused on the task at hand and it showed. Offensive efficiency UA did something that USC simply couldn't do- take care of the ball. The Wildcats dished out 14 assists as a team compared to just 11 turnovers. On the Trojans' side, they couldn't overcome Arizona's impressive defensive effort and it led to 16 turnovers and just six assists. Fouls and free throws Despite being the more aggressive team in the paint, UA was not on the wrong side of the foul differential. The Wildcats' physical style of play benefited them on the offensive side of the ball and it led to 27 free throw attempts, which was 11 more than the Trojans. Arizona's physical play in the paint didn't hinder its defense as the Wildcats picked up a mere 14 total fouls as a team, which led to just 16 attempts from the charity strip for USC.
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