Arizona defeated New Mexico State on Tuesday. Read on for a closer look at why Arizona was able to come out on top.
snapped its two game losing skid on Tuesday evening as the Wildcats defeated the New Mexico State
Aggies 83-76. The effort given by UA was arguably the best of the season thus far and it was led by a pair of freshmen guards.
New Mexico State flew out to an early eight point lead but it was short lived. The Wildcats stormed right back and eventually took a double digit lead late in the first half. NMSU didn't back off, however, as it went on a 16-2 run to take a four point lead early in the second half. UA would ultimately regain the lead for good mid-way through the half, but the Aggies made the Wildcats work for their victory until the very end.
Nick Johnson started and led the way with 19 points for Arizona. The freshman set a career high in scoring by connecting on two of his four shots from three-point range and connecting on an array of dunks throughout the evening. Johnson served as the go-to option on offense for much of the evening, a role that has been sorely lacking for the Wildcats in the early part of the season.
Josiah Turner continued to show improvement, having his best performance of the season as well. The highly touted freshman point guard scored 12 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out three assists and collected three steals. Turner was much more assertive with the ball in his hands, choosing to push the tempo for most of the evening. He did commit four turnovers and ultimately foul out, but his performance on the court was something Arizona has been waiting for since the campaign began.
Senior forward Jesse Perry had another big night in the paint. Perry collected another double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He was an efficient 6-for-11 from the field and provided a much-needed physical presence under the basket.
Solomon Hill had another strong, all-around performance for the Wildcats. The junior scored 12 points on 5-for-8 from the field and grabbed six rebounds. Where Hill really excelled was orchestrating the offense. The forward led Arizona with seven assists and only committed one turnover in the process.
Hill was very assertive in creating, often taking the ball to the basket and trying to make something happen for himself or one of his teammates. If Hill continues to have games like he did Tuesday, UA will be in very good shape going forward.
Arizona survived a big performance from New Mexico State forward Wendell McKines. The senior scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He provided the Aggies with a consistent threat on the court as he was able to score from all over the floor.
UA had one of its better offensive performances of the season. As a team, Arizona made 51.7 percent of its field goals and dished out 19 assists. The Wildcats also showed how tough of a team they are to beat when they are connecting on their three-point attempts. UA hit nine out of 21 (42.9 percent) from long range with six different players contributing.