Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. ASU

Arizona won handily in the desert on Thursday night. Read on to find out more about Arizona's win including the player of the game, the biggest moments, and more.

Arizona got off to an early lead and never looked back in a win over rival Arizona State. The Wildcats won 91-68 in a game that was seemingly out of reach early in the first half. Here's an analysis of what happened:

Arizona Players of the Game:

Aaron Gordon– Playing in his first rivalry game, the freshman was all over the court on Thursday night. Gordon had a few high-flying dunks, but made his mark on the defensive end of the court and the glass. He grabbed six rebounds in the contest and finished with 16 points, though he could've had more if not for his two of six effort from the free-throw line.

Key Moments:

  • Arizona had an early lead in the game, pulling ahead 14-7 within the first seven minutes. The Wildcats started pulling away fueled by the strength of a Gabe York three-pointer, which put his team up ten at the second media timeout of the game.

  • Arizona lead 14-8 after a Sun Devil free throw followed York's three pointer. The Wildcats proceeded to go on a 9-0 run putting the game just about out of reach for the Sun Devils. During that stretch, T.J. McConnell hit a three-pointer, Nick Johnson hit a floater, and Kaleb Tarczewski added four points of his own. The run was stopped by two Jahii Carson free throws.

  • With 7:14 left in the first half, Johnson swished a three-pointer from the top of the arc. That trey put him 1,000 career points at the University of Arizona and gave the Wildcats a 31-12 lead.

  • Midway through the second half, it looked like ASU was primed to make a run at closing the gap. Jahii Carson made a layup and Richie Edwards followed it up with a three-ball for a mini Sun Devil run. That was when McConnell stepped up and nailed a trey of his own to give the Wildcats a 59-38 lead that they would not relinquish.

    Stats of the Night:

    17: Arizona scored seventeen second chance points in the game. What makes this stat that much more interesting is that the Wildcats only had ten offensive rebounds. In order to get seventeen second chance points, the Arizona would have had to score on at least six of those ten rebounds.

    General Thoughts:

    Arizona State wasn't at its best, as Jermaine Marshall was out with a groin injury. He is arguably the Sun Devils' best player and not having him really hurt them from the start of the game. Arizona was able to key in on Jahii Carson and shut down Arizona State's offense.

    In contrast, the Wildcats spread out the offense and played a true team game. Arizona players combined for 21 assists on the 34 baskets and sharing the ball comes with perks as well. The main seven-man rotation that Sean Miller has used lately each scored ten or more points, with Nick Johnson leading the way with 17.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "It wasn't just Nick," Miller said when asked about limiting Carson. "T.J. guarded him and Rondae guarded him. The way we chose to play defense, different switches had a number of different players on him. He's a tough guy to defend and he is at his best in transition. That's where our defense has to start when we defend him.

    "You can't give him those full court one-on-ones. You try to cut him off and get your team back. With a few exceptions, we did a pretty good job of that."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "I think we just need to honor the process every day," Tarczewski said. "We need to work hard and get better in practice and take it one step at a time. I think we have done some pretty special things, but those are in the past.

    "We are just going to keep working hard every day and hopefully towards the end of the season we will be where we want to be."

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