Arizona was able to defeat Clemson on Saturday night. Read on for numerous notes and observations on how the Wildcats got it done.
stormed out to a big lead over Clemson
early in the first half only to see the Tigers battle back and make a game of it going into halftime.
The Wildcats looked to have lost all of their early momentum by the time the second half rolled around and they even allowed Clemson to take a six-point lead and seemingly control of the game as well.
UA eventually showed a lot of resiliency down the stretch by taking the lead back and extending it to a comfortable margin before ultimately defeating the Tigers 66-54 on Saturday night.
It was far from easy, but the Wildcats were able to stay perfect through seven games, thanks to the play of one of the team's veteran leaders.
Senior guard Mark Lyons had one of his better games as a Wildcat, finishing with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting. After helping fuel the early charge, Lyons also came through down the stretch, scoring eight of his 20 points in the final 10:24 of the game. He also was able to make his mark in other areas of the game, dishing out four assists and grabbing four rebounds.
Nick Johnson was the only other Wildcat to reach double-figures, scoring 13 points on 4-for-9 from the field. Johnson added five rebounds to his stat line and was a force on the defensive end of the floor, collecting five steals and blocking a shot.
The performance of the starting backcourt is really what put UA over the top in this game. The duo of Lyons and Johnson combined to score exactly half of the team's point total, shoot 50 percent from the floor, grab nine rebounds, dish out five assists, collect six steals; all while committing just two turnovers between them.
Even though the Wildcats starting backcourt shot 50 percent from the field, Arizona connected on just 35.5 percent of its shots as a team. Several players struggled to put the ball in the basket and it prevented the Wildcats from blowing Clemson out. Grant Jerrett was just 1-for-6 from the floor, while Kevin Parrom was only 1-for-4 overall. The player who struggled the most, however, was Solomon Hill, who connected on just two of his 16 field goal attempts.
Arizona was able to overcome its sub-par shooting performance in a variety of ways. One way was by dominating the Tigers on the glass. Arizona out-rebounded Clemson 40-26 and while Hill struggled scoring, he led UA in rebounds with 10. The Wildcats' extra effort after missed shots led to 17 offensive rebounds and 23 second-chance points.
The Wildcats also forced the Tigers into numerous offensive mistakes and were able to pick up 13 steals as a team. Arizona's strong defensive moments led to Clemson's struggles shooting the ball as the Tigers finished with a shooting percentage of 38.5.
After committing 27 turnovers at home in their previous game, UA took much better care of the ball on Saturday night by coughing possession up just 11 times.
Despite UA's added size, the Wildcats didn't seem to impose its will in the paint as much as it normally does. That led to UA falling victim to 12 blocked shots. Whether it was lack of effort or confidence in the post, Arizona had trouble finishing around the basket against the Tigers.
The little things can make a big difference at the end of a basketball game. Free throws are an area that can make or break a game for a team and UA made share it took advantage of its chances at the charity stripe. For the game, Arizona connected on 17 put of 20 free throw attempts, finishing the night at 85 percent from the line.