Arizona defeated Cal on Thursday and did it in impressive fashion. Read on for a closer look at why the wildcats were able to win.
Haas Pavilion hosted a hostile environment on Thursday night as the California
Golden Bears came in undefeated on their home floor for the 2011-12 season. Unfortunately for the home fans, it was the Arizona
Wildcats who came away victorious with a hard-fought 78-74 win.
In a wild game that saw the Wildcats fall behind by 13 points early in the first half, but then come storming back to take an 11-point halftime lead, UA extended its lead to as many as 14 points before the Bears made a big run late to tie the game at 72. Unfortunately for Cal, Arizona had just little bit more gas left in the tank and was able to come away with the four point victory.
It was a total team effort and it took big contributions all around to make it happen.
The overall performance of Kyle Fogg was arguably his best of the season. The senior scored 23 points on 8-for-14 from the floor. Fogg did his real damage from behind the three-point line, connecting on five out of six attempts from deep. He really caught fire in the first half and it ignited the big run that allowed the UA to take an 11-point lead at the half.
On the defensive end of the floor, Fogg did a solid job defending Bears' leading scorer Allen Crabbe. The sophomore scored 15 points, but was held for to 4-for-12 shooting and was hounded by Fogg for the majority of the contest.
Senior forward Jesse Perry played a major factor in Arizona's victory over Cal. The senior shot 7-for-12 overall and grabbed four rebounds. Perry provided offense in the paint and was able to stretch the floor with his midrange game as well. Perry's play in the second half is one of the primary reasons the Wildcats held on to the game.
Nick Johnson was only 3-for-9 from the floor, but he was the only other Wildcat to reach double figures. The freshman scored 11 points and played the role of distributor with five assists. Johnson initiated the offense at times as Josiah Turner was in foul trouble for much of the game and was relatively successful in the process.
The play of Angelo Chol, especially in the second half, is a very encouraging sign for head coach Sean Miller, who has been searching for a legit interior presence underneath the basket all season long. The freshman scored eight points on 3-for-5 shooting – including two huge dunks in the second half - and showed off his defensive skills as well with a pair of blocks. Chol added four rebounds, which is an area he was struggling in lately leading up to this game.
Turner may have only scored four points, committed four turnovers and spent much of the evening in foul trouble, but he contributed in a positive manner as well while he was on the floor. Turner dished out three assists and helped keep the offensive tempo at a pace that appeared to be too fast for Cal's defense to handle at times.
UA shot 54.9 percent from the floor for the game, which was just a shade over 10 percent higher than where Cal finished the contest at. The Wildcats were able to keep a consistent flow going on the offensive end of the floor and it led to many open looks. They took advantage of the majority of those opportunities and it directly affected the outcome of the game.
Smart ball movement by Arizona led to 19 assists as a team while committing just 11 turnovers. Crisp passing and efficient decision making were a big part of why UA was able to turn a large deficit in the first half to a double-digit advantage before halftime.
The Wildcats defense after the 10:48 mark of the first half was smothering at times. Arizona held Cal to just 1-for-8 from beyond the arc and 44.6 percent shooting overall, preventing the Bears from getting into any kind of rhythm offensively.
UA's defense on the stretch allowed it to hold off Cal. The Golden Bears tied the game with 3:43 left, but didn't hit another field goal the rest of the contest. California's inability to produce with any sort of consistency on the offensive end of the floor is really what hindered its chances to win the game.