Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. California

Arizona defeated California easily on Wednesday night 87-59. Read on to find out how the Wildcats got revenge on the Golden Bears, who the player of the game was, and more.

Arizona continued its offensive dominance in a blow out over California on Wednesday night. The Wildcats were hot throughout the entire game and came away with a 87-59 win over the Golden Bears. Here's an analysis of what happened:

Arizona Player of the Game:

Nick Johnson – The junior had a great game as he continues to dig himself out of the slump that he suffered early in the month of February. Johnson finished with 22 points, shooting 50 percent from the field.

The guard also had seven rebounds, five assists, a block and a steal on the game. He is firmly set as Arizona's best player and if he continues to play this well, he should be the leader for the Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Key Moments:

  • Arizona was trailing early on, but found a way to get back into the game with some quality baskets. After making it a close game, the Wildcats broke the game open with a 9-0 run. Trailing 14-13, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson drove by Jabari Bird for a dunk and Arizona was off to the races, with Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon both getting dunks in transition to open up a 22-14 lead with ten minutes to go in the first half.

  • Arizona broke the game open shortly before the end of the first half. With just five minutes remaining, Johnson found Hollis-Jefferson on a no-look pass that led to a monster slam that ignited the McKale faithful and gave the Wildcats a 31-23 lead. It lead to a 10-0 run for Arizona, giving it a 16-point lead.

  • Early in the second half, Arizona began to push the lead up even more. Three minutes into the half, Gabe York drove to the basket in transition and missed a layup, but grabbed his own rebound, turned and found a wide-open Johnson for a three ball that gave Arizona a sizable 20-point cushion.

  • The game wasn't over yet, as the Golden Bears used an 11-0 run to cut the lead to nine points with 13 minutes remaining in the game. Buckets by Justin Cobbs, David Kravish, and Ricky Kreklow cut the Arizona lead to 55-44 before Kaleb Tarczewski scored to end the drought for the Wildcats.

  • Arizona got the McKale crowd back into the game and that was all she wrote for California. Consecutive baskets by Tarczewski, T.J. McConnell, and two from Johnson put the lead back to 16 with nine minutes to go. Both teams traded baskets, but a three-pointer by McConnell and a dunk by Gordon sparked the crowd and caused Mike Montgomery to call a timeout.

    Immediately after the stoppage of play, Cobbs went to a referee to complain about a foul on a previous play and was given a technical foul along with an additional technical foul that was called on the California bench. Johnson made three of the four free throws, giving Arizona a 73-52 lead with just over seven minutes remaining.

    Stats of the Night:

    42-25: Arizona got back to its dominant rebounding ways on Wednesday night grabbing 42 rebounds to California's 25. It was a great performance across the board with five Wildcats grabbing four or more rebounds. 15 of those 42 rebounds were on the offensive end of the court and led to 13 second chance points for Arizona.

    General Thoughts: It was a second straight game for the Wildcats and their new found offense. Arizona shot 51 percent from the floor and assisted 18 times on 32 baskets. At times, it seemed like California didn't even bother guarding Arizona, but that is just how well the offense is playing right now. The Wildcats are sharing the ball, getting great movement on the court and taking good shots with confidence.

    One thing that cannot go unmentioned is Aaron Gordon's play, particularly his confidence. Gordon finished with 13 points and four rebounds, but was also a strong 5-6 from the free-throw line.

    T.J. McConnell's turnover-less streak was ended on Wednesday, but he only had one and it came on the last play of the first half. McConnell has played his best basketball of the season in the last few games, including in the win over California.

    He was very active on the defensive end, frustrating Justin Cobbs and coming up with three steals. The point guard also dished out six assists, grabbed four rebounds, and even got in on the action on the scoring side, racking up 13 points.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "This may have been our best game of the year," Miller said. "Cal is a really good team. You saw that in the run they had against us in the second half. You get the sense that tonight wasn't their night.

    "It was ours. They're a very good team. A team that I believe will be in the NCAA Tournament. Tonight was about us. We played together. We played hard."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "We're just trying to win the league championship right now, and we have to take it game by game," Nick Johnson said. "It feels good, but we need to stay in our defensive groove. I need to get back into a groove myself. I feel like the last three games have been steps, and I'm just trying to stay with it."


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