Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. Utah

Arizona barely survived with an overtime win over Utah 67-63. Read on to find out who the player of the game was, the key plays, and more.

Arizona got hot late in the first half, but fell back down to earth against Utah in the second half. However, the Wildcats were able to come away with a 67-63 after fighting through regulation and an overtime period. Here's an analysis of what happened:

Arizona Player of the Game:

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – The freshman wasn't much of a factor until late in the game. Hollis-Jefferson had six of his 13 points in the overtime period and really helped Arizona keep the lead after taking it early in the extra time. The forward came off the bench and was actually hobbled a bit earlier this week, but he came up big with some big plays down the stretch. Hollis-Jefferson finished with 13 points, four rebounds, an assist and a steal.

Key Moments:

  • Arizona had been trailing Utah for most of the first half, but that all changed with a 14-0 run from the Wildcats. Down 16-11, Arizona used three free-throws and a Matt Korcheck layup to tie the game. T.J. McConnell scored and then Gabe York hit a three pointer, stole a pass and made a layup to put the Wildcats ahead 23-16. York finished the run with another jumper, giving him seven quick points.

  • Just when it looked like Utah was cutting the lead down from nine and making a run, the Wildcats fought back. Two Utah baskets made it a five point game at 25-20, but Kaleb Tarczewski hit two free throws and Gabe York hit another three-pointer for the ten point lead.

  • At the 13:40 mark left in the second half, McConnell hit a jumper to give Arizona a 12-point lead. After that, Arizona did not score for over four minutes, allowing Utah to go on an 8-0 run and get back into the game. The Wildcats stopped the run with an Aaron Gordon basket, though he missed the ensuing free-throw. To top it off, he was called for his fourth foul just seconds later.

  • Utah made a late push for the win, even taking the lead just after the final media timeout. Two free throws capped a 9-0 run for Utah and gave it a 53-52 lead with three minutes remaining in the game. Arizona answered with a Nick Johnson pull up jumper, but Utah took the lead right back with a basket.

  • The game went to overtime and it was an intense five minutes. With just over two minutes remaining in the game, the final turning point of the game passed. McConnell fouled Brandon Taylor on a three point shot with the Wildcats leading by two. Taylor missed all three free throws and Hollis-Jefferson hit a jumper on the other side to give Arizona a four-point lead, which the Wildcats never relinquished.

  • Stats of the Night:

    14-19: Arizona was able to win in part because it went 14-19 at the free throw line. After hitting on just over 50-percent in the loss to ASU, it was a big improvement to only miss five free throws in a tough road game. Also, two of those misses came at the hands of Aaron Gordon early in the game.

    General Thoughts: Arizona's offense didn't look much different in terms of what the Wildcats were doing, but the players seemed much more confident on the court in the game. Arizona struggled in the loss to ASU, but definitely bounced back against Utah.

    Nick Johnson got going early and found his stroke with a couple of quick makes. However, he failed to become a factor until late in the game. He hit a few big shots down the stretch and helped the Wildcats pull it out at the end of the game.

    Gabe York was on fire in the first half and played a tremendous game, as he was a huge part of the win for Arizona. He put up some bad shots in the second half that got him benched for a while, but the Wildcats would not have been in the position they were in without him and his 15 early points.

    Aaron Gordon was somewhat disappointing in the game. He had three early turnovers and was called for two charges within the first ten minutes of the game. He did come back in, but was held to just a single free-throw in the first half. His second half wasn't much better as he added just one basket before fouling out with over nine minutes remaining in the game. On the bright side, he should be well rested for the game against Colorado.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "That's what he can do," Miller said of York." "He made some timely shots. One of the big reasons we went in the half with a lead was because of his offense."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "At some points, we weren't playing smart basketball," McConnell said. "But at the end we did and that's what matters most."

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