Arizona was able to defeat Utah on Saturday. Read on for a closer look at how the Wildcats came up with the victory.
appeared to be sleep walking through the first nine minutes of Saturday's matchup against Utah
and the Wildcats unexpectedly fell behind by double digits early. UA woke up on offense midway through the first half, but the defense still had difficulty stopping the Utes and the Wildcats found themselves still trailing by double-digits in the second half.
Arizona's offense and defense finally got in the same page halfway through the second half and helped the Wildcats come away with a 70-61 victory at home over Utah. The victory extends UA's winning streak to four heading into a very important road trip to Washington. The second half charge was led by UA's sharpshooters, who hit 11 of their last 18 attempts from beyond the arc.
After going 1-for-4 in the first half, Nick Johnson finished the game as Arizona's leading scorer with 18 points. Johnson came alive in the second half, hitting several crucial shots down the stretch. Struggling of late, the freshman's big performance couldn't have come at a better time. Without his effort in the final 20 minutes, Arizona might have come away with a home loss at the hands of one of the conference's worst squads.
Kyle Fogg came off the bench to score 17 points, grab three rebounds and block two shots. Fogg was taken out of the starting lineup due to disciplinary reasons, but came in early in the contest in an effort to get Arizona rolling on both ends of the floor.
Fogg was inserted when the Wildcats surrendered a pair of early threes to the Utes, but it took him a while to get comfortable defensively. The senior eventually settled in and his defense along the perimeter was a big reason Utah missed five of its final six attempts from beyond the arc.
Solomon Hill came through with another strong effort, scoring 14 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Hill was another player who played much better down the stretch, scoring 10 of his 14 in the final 20 minutes of play. Hill's extra effort proved valuable in the second half, where he collected six of his eight rebounds.
Brendon Lavender's play when he re-entered in the game in the second half helped spark the Wildcats' late run. The senior connected on four of his five attempts from long range, finishing with 12 points. Lavender's stretch in the second half began as UA trailed 43-33, but his series of long distance shots jumpstarted the offense as UA scored 37 points over the final 15 minutes of play.
Even when Arizona trailed by double digits, it still managed to take relatively good care of the ball. Point guard Josiah Turner dished out seven assists without committing a turnover and while he didn't take a single shot attempt, his play was instrumental in the team's victory. As a team, the Wildcats only coughed up possession eight times while picking up 18 assists.
UA shot better from the charity stripe than it has in recent games. The Wildcats knocked down 17 out of 22 shots from the foul line (77.2 percent) and Johnson – a 64.9 percent foul shooter entering the game – went a perfect 5-for-5.
After trailing 43-31 in the second half, the Wildcats outscored the Utes 39-18 over the final 15:49 of the second half. Arizona came out extremely flat in this game, but when the Wildcats caught fire Utah lost all of its confidence.