Postgame Analysis: Arizona State

The Arizona Wildcats went into Tempe and beat the Arizona State Sun Devils 71-54. Read on to find out who the player of the game was, which plays were key to the win, and more.

The Arizona Wildcats went into Tempe wanting revenge for a loss last season. The Sun Devils hung with the Wildcats for a majority of the game, but Arizona was able to pull away at the end of the game. Here's an analysis of what happened:

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.

Key Moments:

  • Early in the game, Carson picked up his second foul as Grant Jerrett pulled down a rebound. Both teams quickly formed into a pile after Carrick Felix gave Solomon Hill a shove. Felix was given a technical foul and the game continued to heat up.

  • With nine seconds left in the first half, Carson picked up his third foul as he drove the lane and charged through Kevin Parrom. It was a big foul as it put Carson on a short leash in the second half after he had been left in for the final few possessions of the first half.

  • Felix didn't score his first points until early in the second half when he hit a three-pointer to cut Arizona's lead to four. Lyons answered almost immediately, stepping into a long ball of his own, pushing the lead back to seven and starting a 5-0 run that made the lead nine.

  • The biggest play of the game was when Carson picked up his fourth foul with almost ten minutes left in the game. ASU trailed by just two points at the time of the foul and looked to give Arizona a run for its money. Carson left the game and the Wildcats proceeded to go on a 11-0 run over the next four minutes. The game was never really within reach after that.

    General Thoughts:

    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."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "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."

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