Postgame Analysis: Arizona State

Arizona defeated Arizona State 73-58 on Saturday. Read on for a closer look at the game, including which player stood out most and which plays were most important.

The Arizona Wildcats ended the regular season on a high note. They beat their rival Sun Devils handily, allowing the walk-ons to finish the game on the court. Here's an analysis of what happened.

Arizona Player of the Game:

Nick Johnson – On a night that was for the seniors, the sophomore shined, propelling his team to a big rivalry win. With seventeen points, four rebounds, and three assists, Johnson was able to have a breakout game. The guard snapped out of a slump that he had been in and was instrumental for the Wildcats to pull away in the second half.

Key Moments:

  • With Arizona leading just 16-15 early in the game, Mark Lyons, Kevin Parrom, and Solomon Hill nailed consecutive long balls during a 13-3 run for the Wildcats. It boosted the lead to eleven and pushed Arizona ahead for the remainder of the half.

  • Early in the second half, Johnson and Chris Colvin were each given technical fouls for exchanging words after a questionable blocking call on Brandon Ashley. It was enough excitement added to the game and allowed the Sun Devils to begin clawing their way back into the game, cutting the lead to five.

  • Up just five points, Johnson started to heat up. He hit a trey, followed by two free throws, and a layup on his own mini 7-0 run. ASU called a timeout to stop the bleeding, drawing up a play for a Jordan Bachynski bucket. On the next trip down the court, Johnson picked up an assist, finding Jordin Mayes for an easy two on a backdoor cut.

    Thoughts:

    For a majority of the game Arizona played with fire and energy. There were lapses in the second half that allowed the Sun Devils to cut the lead down to a single possession, but Johnson led an Arizona run that pretty much sealed things up. Plays like those will be needed more often if the Wildcats are going to win much in the postseason.

    Three Sun Devils fouled out of the game while another finished with four fouls. Arizona's offense showed aggressiveness and took the ball to he heart of the defense, forcing the referees to call fouls. That attack was something that the Wildcats had been missing in the past games. It is a strength for the team and the Wildcats will have more success if they keep it up.

    One of the things that Sean Miller consistently preaches about is the toughness of his team. We were able to see that in tangible form on Saturday. In he first half, Kaleb Tarczewski grabbed back-to-back offensive rebounds and was eventually able to find an open Hill for a three.

    Later, Ashley snagged a one-handed rebound through contact and finished with a strong shot inside. While it may have been unnecessary, Lyons' hard foul and technical in the second half embodied the life of the rivalry. He may have only been in Tucson for one year, but the senior sent a message to the rival team and may have given the Wildcats an extra edge heading to Las Vegas.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "Nick was the best player on the team today, possibly the best player out there. He knows that. He played like he has with us this season, if he's not energized it's not the same team. It's not just up to him it's all of the guys. In LA against UCLA he had moments and he's gone back to that. He has been practicing really hard."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "I felt a lot of emotions," Kevin Parrom said. "I thought about my mother, my grandmother, everything that I've been through: the coaching staff, my father, my brother, everybody. It's one of those moments I'll never forget."


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