Arizona Player of the Game:
Aaron Gordon – The freshman went off on Thursday, finishing with 21 points. I was tempted to go with Brandon Ashley due to Gordon's poor performance at the free throw line, but his motor and aggressiveness on defense give him the edge.
It wasn't a big rebounding night for Gordon, as he only grabbed four, but the forward was incredibly efficient from the floor, making eight of his eleven shots and hitting his only long ball attempt.
Gordon tipped in his own miss at the other end and Arizona never looked back, taking the largest lead of the night, 26, with just ten seconds remaining in the game.
Stats of the Night:
34-12: Despite missing the biggest player on the roster for the night, Arizona continued to dominate down low. The Wildcats outscored the Jaguars 34-12 in the paint. It shows a lot about this Arizona team that it can still be so effective on offense and defense without the team's only true center.
General Thoughts: One of the biggest things I take away from this game is how well the Wildcats played without Kaleb Tarczewski. The rebounding took a dip for the game, but it was still a six-board advantage in favor of Arizona.
The offense and defense were still great in the post though. The Wildcats did a quality job scoring down low as well as being big on defense against a mediocre frontcourt on the other side of the ball.
Another thing that I took away from the game was how Arizona was able to pull away and win the game decisively despite having a relatively bad offensive night. The Wildcats hit just 22 of their 48 shots from the field, making just 3 of 11 from behind the arc. What's worse is that Arizona only made 22 of their 37 free throws. Given, many of those misses came at the hands of Aaron Gordon, but had they been more effective from the line, the game would have been much uglier than it was.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"You can see our size around the basket without Kaleb isn't the same," Miller said. "Everybody on this team has to be locked in and ready to contribute.
"If guys can't be out there for whatever reason, other players have to be ready to play and have to embrace that role. We have to adjust to not having Kaleb right now, but we are capable."
"My shot is fine; I feel like my mechanics are good," Gordon said. "I think I just need to pick a spot on the rim and go with it. I think I'm looking too much and thinking about it too much. It's something I'm not worried about. Before shoot-around we have to shoot 100 free throws and I made 85 of them. I know I'm going to continue to improve and I'm improving as we speak."