Arizona laid a beat down on Michigan on Saturday afternoon 80-53. Read on to find out who the player of the game was, what the key plays were, and more.
Arizona came out hot and held on to beat Michigan 80-53 on Saturday afternoon. Here’s a closer look at what happened:
Arizona Player of the Game:
Stanley Johnson – The freshman had one of the most dominating games of his young career at Arizona against Michigan. Johnson was able to score whenever he wanted en route to 17 points. The forward also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists in the win. Johnson’s lone steal came midway through the first half and led to a fast break slam for the star.
Arizona jumped out to a hot start against the Wolverines, hitting six of the first seven shots and jumping out to an early 15-9 lead in the game. The lead continued to grow as a 9-0 Arizona run put the Wildcats up 20-9 with 12 minutes to go in the first half.
The Wildcats really started to pull away from the Wolverines late in the first half. Gabe York capped off an 8-0 run for Arizona with an alley oop pass to Stanley Johnson for a one-handed monster slam in transition that pushed the lead to 33-17 with just over four minutes to play before halftime.
The Wildcats opened the second half with nine straight points, led by five from York, to bust open a 20-point lead. T.J. McConnell tossed a behind the back pass to York for a three ball and then the shooting guard hit a runner in the lane to push the Arizona lead to 45-25 and the Wildcats never looked back.
Stats of the Night:
42-16 - Arizona was just the more physically dominant team on Saturday and it showed in the paint. The Wildcats were unstoppable in the key, outscoring the Wolverines 42-16 in the paint. Arizona completely dominated Michigan in this aspect and it was key in the victory.
The Wolverines are not the great team that they were a year ago, but there were plenty of talented players wearing maize uniforms in the game. The Wildcats were suffocating on defense in the first half and the big run to start the second half was the finishing move in the game. Arizona just outplayed Michigan and the Wolverines had no answer for the Wildcats once the lead grew to 20 points early in the second half.
This was by far Arizona’s best game of the season. The Wildcats out rebounded the Wolverines, dominated the paint, and were just flat out the better team. Arizona got 17 points from Stanley Johnson, 15 from Gabe York and Kaleb Tarczewski, and 10 from Brandon Ashley and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
This team should have beaten Michigan handily, but I didn’t expect a performance like this. Looking at this performance and how few mistakes there were in the game, it is a sign that the team is starting to reach that level of cohesiveness that was expected for this season.
Winning the game is a step in the right direction, but the Wildcats are starting to show why their potential ceiling is so high and that is an even better sign.
Sean Miller Quotable:
”We played a fast pace early and kept it up,” Sean Miller said. “We pushed the ball. A lot of our early shots were good shots. Our quick shots weren't bad, quick shots. When you are a good defensive team, you can control the pace because you are always pushing the ball.”
”I think our team felt that they were cornered with some of their losses,” Stanley Johnson said. “We were expecting them to come out and hit shots. It was just a great win for us here at McKale. We were super focused from the start and we did not want to drop one.”