Arizona was able to defeat Arizona State for numerous reasons on Saturday. Read on for news and notes on how Arizona got it done.
received a battle from its rival up north, but the Wildcats ultimately proved to be the better team as they defeated Arizona State
71-54 in Tempe on Saturday afternoon. The victory moves Arizona to 4-1 in conference play while the Sun Devils lost their second consecutive game to fall to 3-2 against the Pac-12.
Led by three of their best players, the Wildcats held the lead for most of the contest and, while ASU made them sweat it out, Arizona proved to be entirely too much and pulled away down the stretch.
Senior Mark Lyons got in foul trouble relatively early in the contest, but that didn't slow him down and he continued about his business. The starting point guard scored 24 points on 8-for-15 shooting and he did his part in keeping Arizona State starting point guard Jahii Carson in foul trouble.
Lyons' assertiveness allowed him to draw plenty of contact, which translated to a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. On top of his scoring. Lyons also contributed three assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Providing support to Lyons out of the backcourt was, once again, Nick Johnson. The sophomore scored 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including 2-for-3 from beyond the three-point line. Johnson's efficient shooting was only a portion of his contribution, as he was able to put forth a strong effort on the defensive end of the floor with two steals and a block.
From the opening tip, it looked as if Solomon Hill was focused on doing whatever it took to help Arizona win the game. On top of his 13 point effort, the senior grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists; contributing in a manner most UA fans have grown accustomed to since his arrival in 2009. Hill opened the game with an emphatic dunk and continued to play with a high motor for the rest of the contest.
Arizona played one of its best defensive games of the season thus far. The Wildcats held ASU to 39 percent shooting, including 25 percent from three-point range. They collected eight steals as a team – led by Lyons' three – and forced a normally-disciplined Arizona State squad into committing 17 turnovers.
Carson kept the Sun Devils in the game almost by himself. The freshman scored 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting and was a thorn in the side of UA's defense whenever he was on the floor. Only one more player, Evan Gordon with 14 points, reached double-figures for ASU. The rest of the team combined to shoot 5-for-22 and score just 18 points.
Carrick Felix was a player who Arizona had to defend well in order to stop the ASU offense. The Wildcats did just that, holding the senior to a mere 1-for-8 shooting while forcing him into committing seven turnovers.
Felix and 7-foot-2 center Jordan Bachynski have been two of the Sun Devils most reliable players this season, but neither could really get anything going on either end of the floor. Added to Felix's subpar outing was a disappointing effort from Bachynski.
The center looked strong on the defensive end of the floor early in the contest as was able to block three shots in the first half. That didn't seem to intimidate UA, however, as the Wildcats continued to be assertive throughout the rest of the game and Bachynski's defense was rendered meaningless down the stretch. On the offensive end of the floor, the big man scored just three points on 1-of-5 shooting while turning the ball over three times.