Arizona started slow, but finished strong in a 67-51 win over Cal Poly Pomona. Read on to find out who the player of the game was, what the key moments were, and more.
Arizona’s season hasn’t officially started yet, but the Wildcats were host to Cal Poly Pomona on Sunday afternoon and came away with a 67-51 exhibition win. Here’s a closer look at what happened:
Arizona Player of the Game:
Kaleb Tarczewski – The junior big man was phenomenal for the Wildcats and showed off the improvements that he has made in the off season. Tarczewski connected on five of his eight shots, while knocking down two more free throws on his way to 12 points. The center also pulled down six rebounds in the winning effort.
Just about ten minutes into the game, Arizona was trailing 9-8 and struggling offensively. Gabe York picked up a loose ball on the defensive side of the floor and took it to the opposing coast for an easy layup in traffic, giving Arizona its first lead of the night.
Late in the first half, Arizona finally found some offense. York finally knocked down a three-pointer after missing his first three shots to cut the Pomona lead to two. On the other end, T.J. McConnell grabbed a rebound and found a streaking Stanley Johnson for an easy dunk to tie the game. York added four more, Johnson had a fast break layup, and Brandon Ashley hit a free throw to cap a 14-0 run to end the half.
Both teams went back and forth early in the second half with Pomona cutting the lead to just six at 35-29, but McConnell found Kaleb Tarczewski on a beautiful pass that allowed the big man to score an easy two and pick up the foul at the same time. The free throw gave Arizona a nine point lead, which the Wildcats were able to increase.
Arizona turned it on in the second half of the game and was able to play tough defense, turning an eight minute stretch into an 18-6 run that put the Wildcats up 20 points.
Stat of the Night:
23: Arizona’s players were incredibly unselfish for the majority of the night. The Wildcats were able to record an assist on 23 of their 26 field goals in the game. Two of the unassisted field goals came off of put back attempts and the other was a coast-to-coast fast break by York.
Arizona started off slow, but eventually turned it on towards the end of the first half. It seemed a bit concerning when Pomona went up 19-12, but eventually things turned around. Gabe York hit a couple big shots to get McKale fired up and once the crowd got into it, there was really no feeling that Arizona wouldn’t pull away.
It was the first time I got to see Stanley Johnson in college action and his performance seemed a little hit and miss, but the potential was clear. If he can shore up his defensive lapses and clean up the offensive game, Johnson can be the best player on the team, but he has some work to do right now.
After being one of the top defensive teams in the country last season, the Wildcats will likely be one of the better ones this year as well. Arizona held Pomona to 39 percent from the field and forced 15 turnovers. Better than that, the Wildcat defense was able to hold Pomona scoreless for several stretches of the night, which allowed Arizona to pull away.
It was nice to see Brandon Ashley get extended minutes in his first real game back from his foot injury. The junior was able to see a team-high 29 minutes and looked strong for a majority of the game, always seeming to find his way to the ball. Ashley had ten points and seven rebounds on the night. If he has the same performance throughout the season, he will be doing his part for the team.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"The first fifteen minutes of the game, I thought we had a burden on us in terms of anxiety, lack of confidence. lack of sureness, a lot of the things I alluded to a week earlier," Sean Miller said.
"You didn't get the sense that we came out as a team filled with confidence, here we go. That's part of our personality. That's not necessarily a bad thing as much as being able to get more repetitions in games and play together more."
"I think the momentum changed (towards the end of the first half)," Gabe York said about his three pointer to spark the run late in the first half. "I wouldn't say it was just that one possession, but like I said before, I think we got comfortable.
"We ended up knowing what to do against the match-up zone and it showed from the end of the first half and the whole second half."
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