Arizona Player of the Game:
Gabe York: The sophomore continued to impress in the second game of the year. York nailed his first four three-pointers of the night and helped the Wildcats jump out to an early lead. The shooting guard finished with a career high 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists. He also had two steals on the night.
The reason York gets the nod over several other equally deserving players is due to the timing of his buckets and assists. Three of his four three-pointers came during big runs for the Arizona offense and he was on the passing end of multiple exciting alley oops.
Stats of the Night:
59 and 27: The Wildcats shot a fantastic 59 percent from the field. Arizona's shooting percentage can be attributed to scoring 46 of its 91 points in the paint. The Wildcats also made it easier for each other by helping each other out by making solid passes in the half court offense, as well as in transition. Arizona finished with 22 assists as a team, while turning it over just 11 times.
In contrast, Long Beach State shot a horrendous 27 percent from the field. The poor shooting was also in part to Arizona's defense, which forced the 49ers to miss their first 12 long balls. The defensive intensity for the Wildcats forced Long Beach State to miss 46 of their 63 shots overall.
Arizona played as well as it has in the past few years in the first half of the game. Gabe York was hitting on all cylinders and his teammates were as well. Aaron Gordon continued to dominate on the glass, having eleven points and seven rebounds in the first half alone.
The second half of the game was a little sloppier, but that is somewhat expected in blow outs. To its credit, Arizona kept the intensity up and even further extended the lead, allowing Sean Miller to use some bench players, including Zach Peters, the transfer from Kansas.
Although York was the player of the game, Arizona could not have won the way it did without the spectacular play of York and T.J. McConnell. Both did exactly what was needed of them, as McConnell finished with a season-high eight assists.
Gordon played equally as impressive and could easily have surpassed York for Player of the Game if he had seen extended minutes in the second half.
Brandon Ashley put together a solid game despite his foul trouble. The sophomore finished with sixteen points and seven rebounds, though he fouled out in 21 minutes. If he can continue to play as hard and well as he did, while staying out of foul trouble, Ashley could be in for an award winning season.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"I think it is obvious that he is a much improved player," Miller said."He has worked extremely hard from last year. When he comes in the game, he really does a great job. The fact that he had six assists and no turnovers, that stat is every bit as remarkable as the way he shot the ball tonight. He's a pivotal part of us moving forward."
"We talked about our identity as a team and we want to be a strong defensive team and we want to be able to get on the break," Johnson said. "When we push the ball, we've got a lot of people who can finish in transition. We know that's going to be a big part of our game all year."