Arizona defeated Texas Tech on Tuesday. Read on to see what we can take away from Arizona's performance in the win.
After spending nearly a week away from home in New York City, there had to be at least a little bit of concern as Arizona
took the floor against Texas Tech
on Tuesday night.
The Red Raiders are a veteran-led bunch, and they're coached well enough that they could've really challenged UA if the Wildcats came out with their heads in the clouds.
That was not the case, as Arizona improved to 8-0 on the season with a convincing 79-58 win over TTU. While it was far from a perfect performance, there was a lot to like from Tuesday.
Brandon Ashley might have played his best game as a Wildcat. He ended the night with 18 points and 10 rebounds against one of the Big 12's better power forwards in Jaye Crockett, attacking the rim early and often and knocking down both of his three-point attempts.
When Ashley plays under control the way he did on Tuesday – and he's not trying to do too much like he did at times in New York – he's arguably the best player on the team.
Aaron Gordon had a season-best 19 points on an efficient 10 shots. He also brought down seven rebounds and contested numerous shot attempts on the other end. And other than a coast-to-coast dunk midway through the second half, Gordon,
as he usually does, produced in a fairly quiet manner.
If there was a downside to Gordon's night, it was him going 4-for-12 from the free throw line. Free throws have been an issue all season long for the Wildcats, and they shot just 57.6 percent (19-33) against the Red Raiders. That number should improve as the season moves along, but it's still a cause for concern.
T.J. McConnell is one of the best stat sheet stuffers in the country. After putting up 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds against Duke, McConnell followed up his performance with five points, 10 assists, five rebounds and three
steals in just 26 minutes on the floor. He even blocked a shot for good measure, too.
McConnell is the perfect point guard for this team, and it's tough to imagine many other players in the country meaning more to their team's success than T.J.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson continued to provide a solid boost off the bench with nine points and eight rebounds, including four on the offensive end. He's getting overlooked because of the talent levels of the five starters, but his
impact off the bench cannot be overstated.
Other than free throws, the only other real negative to take away from the game was turnovers. Arizona ended the night with 15 turnovers (and just 16 assists), though 11 of those came in the first half.
It's a good sign that the Wildcats started taking care of the ball after making some halftime adjustments, but that's still four or five too many giveaways given the talent of the guards on this team.