Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. Rhode island

Arizona earned a trip to New York as they won handily over Rhode Island on Tuesday night. Read on for a breakdown of the victory, including the player of the game, the key moments, and more.

Arizona is headed to New York to face the Drexel Dragons. The Wildcats earned that right by defeating Rhode Island 87-59 on Tuesday night. Here's an analysis of what happened:

Arizona Player of the Game:

Nick Johnson: The junior guard was one of the best players on the court on Tuesday, but like just about every night, it was a close call. Johnson got the nod due to his excellent play and his first career double-double. He finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in addition to six assists.

With the big game, Johnson is firmly in mid-season mode. He started the season slow with two sub-par games, but really woke up at San Diego State and has been playing outstanding ever since.

Key Moments:

  • With the game held close for the first eight minutes, Arizona was leading just 10-6 heading into the second media timeout. Over the following eight minutes, the Wildcats started to pull away. Nick Johnson hit a three pointer, Kaleb Tarczewski dunked off a pick and roll, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson converted an and-1 during the stretch that saw Arizona score fifteen points to Rhode Island's five.

  • Late in the first half, Rhode Island was trying to keep the game close, but Aaron Gordon had other ideas, as he saw an opening and took it.

    Johnson threw a perfect lob and Gordon caught it at the rim and slammed it home with the reverse dunk. With a turnover at the other end, Gordon returned the favor with a touch pass to Johnson for a layup and a foul that put the Wildcats up 34-14.

    Stats of the Night:

    48: Arizona dominated the paint again on Tuesday and it will be hard to find a team that can keep them it doing it, as the Wildcats scored 48 of their 87 points in the paint. While some of them came off of fast breaks, most of them came from great ball movement in the half court offense.

    It can be contributed to the size and athleticism that the Wildcats have, but you can't forget that T.J. McConnell has been phenomenal as the point guard of this team.

    General Thoughts:

    It may sound like a broken record, but this is Sean Miller's first true team at Arizona and it is clear that he is going to have success. Rhode Island is not a bad team, but the Wildcats were just on another level altogether and it showed.

    If you are looking for a negative, Arizona seemed to slow down a bit in the second half. Miller talked about it plenty after the game and against better teams, that is going to be something the Wildcats have to avoid.

    The final note of the game is that these big margin wins are perfect for the Wildcats. Sean Miller is getting the opportunity to get his younger players adjusted to the game. Elliott Pitts has seen plenty of playing time over the past two days and is slowly beginning to adjust.

    He isn't getting mop up time or just the final two minutes of the game, but he is getting quality minutes against good opponents, which is going to do wonders for his and the other younger players' futures.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "We out-rebounded them 38 to 26," Miller said. "Anytime a guard has ten rebounds, that's an extraordinary effort. This may have been the best game Nick Johnson has had at Arizona."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "I just try to go out there and play," Johnson said. "I just made it a point today to get to the glass. If I get a rebound, that kills one pass that we have to make to one of our guards so we can get out on the break, so we're trying to do that more."

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