Arizona Player of the Game:
Brandon Ashley – The sophomore continues to play well this season, as he came out on fire from the field and kept it up all night long. Ashley finished with 15 points and six rebounds in the game, hitting all three of his three-point attempts in the process. His energy on the floor was enough to push Arizona ahead and stay there.
That changed with a Brandon Ashley tip in to cut the lead to one. After a free throw for the Aggies, two straight dunks from Kaleb Tarczewski gave the Wildcats their first lead of the night.
Stats of the Night:
36: Arizona scored 36 points in the paint against New Mexico State. The Wildcats have done this multiple times during the season, but the reason this is important for this game is that Arizona did this against a team that actively played two centers.
In addition, the Wildcats held the Aggies to just 18 points in the paint. This can partially be attested to Arizona's lead in the second half, but it is still impressive given New Mexico State's size.
General Thoughts: Arizona played really well once again. There is not much to say about this team that has not already been said numerous times. Each player has the ability to take over the game and Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley did just that.
Kaleb Tarczewski was effective for a majority of the night and has shown considerable improvement with his hands. Nick Johnson struggled at times, but turned it up in the second half to finish with decent numbers.
The small surprises were the play of Aaron Gordon and Gabe York. Gordon was held to just four rebounds on the night, while York was held scoreless. Both are somewhat uncharacteristic, although York's offensive production has been in a lull the last few games.
One thing that should concern Arizona fans is Ashley's inability to stay out of foul trouble. He did a better job during this game, but was still whistled for some pretty bad fouls. There is not much that he can do to fix this, except try to be in a better position defensively.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"Right now, he's one of our best offensive rebounders," Miller said of Hollis-Jefferson. "He's relentless. i thought he had three or four great passes tonight. Defensively, he's getting better with every day of practice because he is working really hard at it.
"A lot like Aaron Gordon, they're very versatile in their approach. Tonight, Rondae and Aaron were never guarded. I think it's hard not to guard two players as good as them."
"I thought we struggled as a team, some people played better than others, but we kept moving on offense and kept finding the open man like we have been all year," McConnell said.
"We're just unselfish. When we do that, we're pretty hard to stop. We're an unselfish basketball team. When we do that and we're hitting shots, it's pretty good."