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.
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."
"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."