Observations: Arizona vs. Southern

Arizona won by 26 on Thursday night, but it wasn't a very pretty game. Read on for more on the victory, reaction to the performance, and more.

It wasn't its most impressive performance of the season by any measure, but Arizona came out and took care of business against Southern on Thursday night, 69-43.

Coming off a big win over Michigan, Sean Miller said he was concerned about the game going into it.

The players were finishing up finals this week, and it showed a bit. Arizona came out a bit flat and never really reached the level it's capable of playing at.

Arizona still ended up winning by 26 – which really says something about this team – but there are plenty of things to improve upon moving forward. Here were the main takeaway points from the game.

  • It was pretty clear the Wildcats missed Kaleb Tarczewski anchoring the middle of the floor. Even when he's not scoring or altering a shot, Tarczewski's presence in the lane does so much for this team that you don't really notice until he's sitting out on the bench.

    It's unclear if he will play against Northern Arizona on Monday, but at this point it's absolutely essential that he be close to 100-percent once Pac-12 play begins.

  • Aaron Gordon probably played the best game of his UA career. He finished with 21 points on just 11 shots, but he only hit four of his 10 free throw attempts.

    Gordon will have to continue improving on his free throws – he said after the game that he made 85-of-100 earlier that day in practice – but his upside was on clear display Thursday night.

  • It was good to see Matt Korcheck, Jordin Mayes and Elliott Pitts all get some real-time minutes. They all checked in midway through the first half, and while neither of them logged more than 10 minutes, just getting them some rotations could be beneficial down the road.

    These are three players who would probably be playing normal minutes if they weren't on a team with so much depth and talent ahead of them. They're playing a tough role right now, and they deserved to get a few extra minutes with the game well in-hand.

  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got the start and the made most of it in the early going. He attacked the rim twice early and scored both times, which really set the tone for the game.

    Hollis-Jefferson finished with eight points and eight rebounds, once again filling the stat sheet. His development over the last month has been really impressive, and it's scary to think what his upside could be towards the end of the season.


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