Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. Stanford

Arizona prevailed in a tough game on Wednesday night. Read on to see how the Wildcats did it, who the player of the game was, and more.

Arizona got off to a slow start and had to battle back early in a tight game. Stanford gave the Wildcats a tough matchup, but Arizona was able to take home the 60-57 victory. Here's an analysis of what happened:

Arizona Player of the Game:

Nick Johnson – Although he didn't have the best first half of the game, Johnson really showed up in the second half. He scored 13 points in the second half, including a huge three-pointer and two very clutch free throws in the final minutes of the game.

It is also worth mentioning that the junior guard did not have a turnover and played tremendous defense, while dishing out a team-high four assists.

Key Moments:

  • During the first four minutes of the game, Arizona really struggled to get going. The Wildcats fell behind early, hitting just one of the first eight shots. Stanford was exactly the opposite, scoring nine quick points to take a 9-2 lead.

  • With 11 minutes left in the first half, Dwight Powell was whistled for a foul while rebounding over the back of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. It was his second of the game and he was forced to sit for a majority of the first half. During the next four minutes stretch, Arizona outscored Stanford 11-5 to take a 21-16 lead with just over seven minutes to go in the first half.

  • Early in the second half, it looked as if Stanford would start to pull away from Arizona. With Stanford leading 43-42, the Cardinal went on a 6-0 run that included four second-chance points. Stanford started pulling away, but two Nick Johnson free throws cut the lead to four.

    After two Stanford points, Ashley went strong to the basket, scoring and causing Powell to pick up his fourth foul of the game with 12 minutes to go in a close game.

  • The score was close for the entirety of the game, but the biggest plays of the game came with just over two minutes left in the game. Johnson drove the lane, hitting a floater to take the lead 55-53. After trading possessions, Powell drove the lane and hit a reverse layup to tie it back up.

  • With the game tied, Ashley missed a jump shot, but Kaleb Tarczewski grabbed the biggest offensive board of the game. He found Johnson wide open for a three-pointer that put the Wildcats ahead for good.

    Stats of the Night:

    11-4: Did the last few minutes of the game seem like it lacked great offensive possessions? Well, it did. Arizona outscored Stanford just 11-4 over the final 10:03 in the game. The Wildcats' defense really stepped up and held the Cardinal to just one field goal in the final ten minutes of the game and Arizona was able to come away with the win because of it.

    General Thoughts:

    Arizona played an awful first half and paid for it. The true testament to how good the Wildcats can be is that they were downright bad in the first half and only trailed by one heading into the locker room. They didn't play well for the entire game, yet managed to win.

    When the chips were down, Arizona again turned to the Nick Johnson, but it wouldn't have been in the game if not for the phenomenal play of T.J. McConnell.

    The point guard finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, including several big shots throughout the game when the Wildcats were hurting for points. Without McConnell's offense, Arizona is not even close to Stanford in the second half.

    With the close win over Stanford, Arizona turns it's attention to Cal. The Golden Bears do not match up with the Wildcats as well as the Cardinal did, but it will still be a tough game on the road. The close game may have come at a perfect time though, as it may have served as a wake-up call to the Wildcats, heading into a vital game against California.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "The way they decided to play us, we needed to make a few more perimeter shots," Miller said. "If we would have converted more from the foul line, the game would have felt a lot different from beginning to end."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "One of the things we need to do is play defense at a high level more consistently and I think that will help us out a lot," Brandon Ashley said. "When we were down, we weren't thinking about being down. For any team to be competitive, at any level, you have to be confident in yourself."

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