Observations: Arizona vs. Washignton State

Arizona defeated Washington State on Thursday. Read on to see what we took away from the win.

Washington State came into the McKale Center on Thursday night knowing things could get ugly. It was without its leading scorer and was over matched at every position on the floor and it showed from the opening tip.

While it wasn't the best offensive performance Arizona has turned out this season, the Wildcats dominated the Cougars for 40 minutes to improve to 14-0 on the season. Here were the main takeaway points from the 60-25 win.

  • The defense was phenomenal. If Sean Miller didn't begin pulling his starters midway through the second half, there was a pretty good chance the Wildcats would've held WSU below 20 points, which is the NCAA record for fewest points scored in a Division-I game. The Cougs seldom had a clean look at the rim, shooting a miserable 20 percent from the floor.

    In his most recent press conference, Sean Miller emphasized the need for the team to not lose their defensive identity this season the way they did last year. While it's not exactly like Washington State will be competing for a Sweet 16 nod in March, it was very promising start on the defensive end from the Wildcats.

  • Arizona didn't shoot the ball very well on Thursday night. It shot 44 percent from the floor, but went just 4-for-14 from behind the arc and 16/24 at the free throw line.

    There's no real way to spin those offensive woes into a positive, though there are two caveats to keep in mind. This was UA's first game in nearly 10 days, and with the holidays sending most of the guys away from campus, there was bound to be a little rust. There was also the issue of WSU eating nearly 30 seconds off the shot clock before getting most of its shots up on the other end, which really limited the number of possessions on offense.

  • Just like it has done most of the year, Arizona dominated the glass on both ends of the floor. The Wildcats out-rebounded the Cougars, 42-28, and brought down 13 boards on the offensive end.

  • As far as individual performances go, no one really stood out for better or worse.

    Kaleb Tarczewski was arguably the MVP of the game, scoring a team-high 11 points. More important, Zeus' ankle looked healthy. He had no problems getting up and down the floor, and while we'll need to see how he handles the quick turnaround against Washington, he would appear to be fine moving forward.

  • It was also good to see Jordin Mayes continue to get a few minutes off the bench. The long Pac-12 season is going to take a toll on T.J. McConnell and Nick Johnson, and being able to count on Mayes to give either a breather will be huge for Sean Miller. Mayes finished the night with four points, four rebounds and an assist.

    No one really expects Mayes to be anything more than an 8th man right now, but if he can fill that roll on the nights McConnell and Johnson are gassed, he'll be a valuable piece moving forward.


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