Player of the Game:
#13 Nick Johnson – The sophomore only had five points in Tempe last season, but came out in a big way this year. He was a key player in exploiting Jahii Carson's foul trouble in the second half and finished with nineteen points, two rebounds, and two assists. He also had two steals on the night to go with his exceptional defensive effort.
Arizona came out with fire early in the game, which is something that we haven't seen very much of this season. Both teams started out trying to slug it out, but eventually cooled off and the game began to flow. When that happened, Arizona's defense really stepped up. Throughout the game, the Wildcats' defensive effort was superb. At times, especially late in the game, it was the best defense that Arizona has played all season.
One big stat that stands out to me in this game is Kaleb Tarczewski's five defensive rebounds. Hill also had five defensive rebounds and together, along with other teammates, the Wildcats held ASU to just five offensive boards. Even bigger is that Arizona didn't allow Arizona State to score any second chance points. As the freshman big men are maturing, especially Teartczewski, getting those rebounds and limiting multiple scoring chances, the Wildcats are becoming a much better team.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"I thought it was a total team effort," Miller said. "Solomon Hill, I thought, was terrific. When we needed a basket, when we really broke the game open, he had a lot to do with it.
"Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson also were tremendous throughout the game. It was our team defense and players playing in a big game on the road and playing with a lot of confidence."
"I don't want to be the best point guard in the PAC-12, I want to be the best in the country," Lyons said. "I'm aiming for the moon, so I can be amongst the stars. I play every game as if it's my last."