Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. Oregon

Arizona gutted out a win on Thursday night. The Wildcats fought hard for a win against Oregon, their first since losing Brandon Ashley. Read on to find out how they did it, who the player of the game was, and more.

Arizona took a while to find its groove, but was eventually able to gut out a 67-65 win over Oregon. The Wildcats fought hard, led by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's double-double. Here's an analysis of what happened:

Arizona Player of the Game:

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson- Arizona would not have been in the game if not for Hollis-Jefferson. The freshman has been one of the unsung heroes for the Wildcats all season and he stepped up big for his team in the absence of Brandon Ashley.

Hollis-Jefferson finished the game with a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing ten rebounds. He also added three assists, two blocks and a steal.

Key Moments:

  • With the game tied at eleven, Arizona started to get aggressive. Gabe York dribbled to the left side of the key and lobbed the ball towards the basket, which Nick Johnson completed with a dunk for a two-point lead.

  • Both teams exchanged baskets, but Oregon was able to keep it close. With 4:13 left in the first half, T.J. McConnell was whistled for his third foul of the game and had to sit out the remainder of the half. The good news was that Johnson was able to play point guard and had Gabe York and Elliott Pitts to fill in at the other positions.

  • Early in the second half, Oregon jumped to a six-point lead. With just over 13 minutes left, Aaron Gordon picked up a basket and the foul. He completed the three-point play and brought Arizona to within three. The Wildcats forced a quick shot, and grabbed the rebound, but a turnover by McConnell drove momentum back to the Ducks in the form of a fast break dunk.

  • The Wildcats clawed all the way back into the game, tying it on a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson dunk on a fast break. That wasn't all she wrote for Oregon as the Ducks went on a 6-0 run to jump back in front. The run caused Sean Miller to use his final timeout with over eight minutes to go in the game.

  • With 2:25 remaining, Kaleb Tarczewski scored a basket on a pass from Hollis-Jefferson and took the foul. He missed the free throw, but it brought the Wildcats within one and set up a wild final couple of minutes.

  • McConnell was dared to shoot by Oregon all night long and did, but just hit one of his eight attempts entering the final two minutes. Trailing by one, he buried the go-ahead three-pointer to put Arizona ahead by two. Arizona used that momentum and hung on to win 67-65.

    Stats of the Night:

    14-4: After calling the last Arizona timeout, Sean Miller lit into his guys and it worked. The Wildcats went on a 14-4 run that spanned seven minutes and six seconds, leaving the Wildcats ahead 64-60 with just 47 seconds to go in the game. It erased Oregon's largest lead of the night and put Arizona ahead for good.

    General Thoughts:

    Arizona was bad for several periods throughout the game on Thursday, but it gutted it out and found a way to win. The Wildcats are trying to adjust to life without Brandon Ashley and it is going to be difficult.

    Several players are adjusting to new roles and there is going to be a period of adjustment where Arizona may not look like the team it was a week ago.

    The good news is that it looks like the Wildcats will see a similar approach for the remainder of the season and can find ways to combat it. Oregon played a strict 2-3 zone for most of the game and it will likely be the same way that opponents will play against Arizona from now on.

    The reason that isn't a bad thing is that Arizona is trying to develop Gabe York and Elliott Pitts as quick as possible and both of them, along with T.J. McConnell and Nick Johnson, have the ability to shoot from outside and break apart the zone.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "Rondae played 34 minutes tonight," Miller said. "I think he will tell you he probably had four or five errors defensively that really hurt us. In the first half, he was guarding Calliste. You can't ever go under a screen and he went under.

    "Gabe York gave up a couple. In both cases, they're not in there to that degree. They're not able to be there in the role that they currently have when we were with Brandon (Ashley). Now, part of it is that they have to learn through trial and error, through experience. I think they will. They'll get better with experience."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "It was pretty tough, but we have gritty enough players to do so and they stepped up," Hollis-Jefferson said when asked about playing with a smaller lineup. "It's nice to have a bunch of guys that are as cohesive as we are. We stick together."

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