Arizona lost against ASU on Friday night in a double overtime game with a controversial finish. Read on to find out more about the game, the controversy, and more.
lost a controversial heart-breaker in Tempe on Friday night. The Sun Devils took the lead late in the second overtime and held on to win 69-66. Here's an analysis of what happened:
Arizona Player of the Game:
Kaleb Tarczewski – Despite some foul trouble Kaleb Tarczewksi had a phenomenal game. He helped limit Jordan Bachynski on the defensive side of the court and had some dominating plays on offense as well. His 13 points and 13 rebounds qualified him for Player of the Game honors. This play from Tarczewski is only a good sign of his continued progress as the season winds down.
With eight minutes left in the first half, Kaleb Tarczewski took a bounce pass from T.J. McConnell, turned to the basket and elevated for a monster slam. It gave the Wildcats a 13-12 lead and fueled Arizona with some confidence going forward.
A few minutes later, Nick Johnson finally got found his shot, hitting a three-pointer in transition to give the Wildcats a 16-14 lead. He added two free throws on the next trip down the court for a four-point lead. The run wasn't over there as Tarczewski hit a jumper off a pass from McConnell for the 20-14 Arizona advantage.
The Wildcats and Sun Devils traded baskets throughout the second half and it was a game of runs for both teams. ASU used back-to-back three pointers to take the a small lead, but the Wildcats roared back with a 7-2 run of their own, capped with a Johnson dunk for a 35-31 lead with 14:03 to go in the game.
With seven minutes left in the game, ASU had pulled away from Arizona on six straight points from Jahii Carson. The Wildcats weren't out of it though and McConnell nailed his third triple of the night out of a Sean Miller timeout. It cut the lead to three and set up a wild final stretch.
The shot clock was winding down when Carson put the Sun Devils up big late in the game. Carson drove the lane, but was cut off by a defender with five seconds left on the shot clock. The sophomore guard pulled a nifty step-back move and buried the bucket, putting ASU up four. The Sun Devils added a free throw, but the Wildcats were able to come back.
Arizona got back in the game with an Aaron Gordon basket-and-one and a McConnell layup after Rondae Hollis-Jefferson stole a sloppy pass on the defensive side of the ball. The layup tied the game at 51 and forced overtime after both teams failed to score again in regulation.
The overtime session was a series of bad and good possessions for both teams. After trading baskets, both teams sat tied at 57 with just under a minute remaining.
It was in double overtime when Arizona's offense finally seemed to wake up. McConnell tied the game up with a runner off the glass in the lane and Gordon put Arizona up by four with back-to-back layups at the rim.
Arizona State fought back and actually held the lead by one with the clock winding down when the controversial mayhem took place. McConnell drove the lane and put up a floater, but had it blocked by Jordan Bachynski. The ball fell into the hands of Carson, who raced down the court for a dunk. As he ran down the court, fans and player rushed the court with time still remaining on the clock. To top it off, Carson put an exclamation point on the slam by doing an extended pull up on the rim.
Once the Arizona State players and fans were cleared off the court, Arizona's last shot fell just short and the Sun Devils came away with the win.
Stats of the Night:
16-30: Arizona was 16-30 from the free throw line and that was what truly did it in. Multiple Wildcats had opportunities down the stretch and could not make a consistent effort at the charity stripe.
Arizona's offense will come and go for the next few weeks. It is going to be difficult to win on the road without Brandon Ashley's production, but the Wildcats showed that it is doable. ASU was the hottest team in the Pac-12 behind Arizona and the Wildcats were able to gut out a win on the road.
T.J. McConnell played a decent game offensively, but just made bad decisions at times. He finished with game with six turnovers and just two assists. Whatever got into his head needs to be altered quickly if Arizona has any chance at winning many more games in the future.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"Our offense is continuing to put more and more pressure on our defense," Miller said. "You can only guard so well. We missed a ton of free throws; heck, we've missed a ton of free throws all year. Eventually, that's going to run its course and we're going to lose because we're leaving too many points on the table."