Arizona pulled away from California late in the first half for a 73-50 win over California. Read on to find out who the player of the game was, what the key moments were, and more.
Arizona pulled away in the second half for a 73-50 victory over California on Saturday night. Here’s a closer look at what happened:
Arizona Player of the Game:
Stanley Johnson – What else is there to say about Stanley Johnson that hasn’t been said before. The freshman was a force for the Wildcats, scoring 18 points and just missed out on a double-double, finishing with nine rebounds. Johnson also had two steals that turned into easy baskets for his team.
Four minutes into the game, Kaleb Tarczewski picked up his second foul of the game, forcing him to the bench. It seemed like Cal may start to turn the tide, but two David Kravish point blank misses, followed by a few Golden Bear turnovers and the Wildcats were able to break open an 11-4 lead.
Tied at 17, Gabe York hit his first three pointer of the game to put the Wildcats up by three. Dusan Ristic followed it with a hook shot off the glass and Arizona was able to get some breathing room heading towards halftime. Stanley Johnson added four points and Ristic dropped in a long ball as the Wildcats took a 29-19 lead into halftime.
Arizona opened the second half with a hot hand. Kaleb Tarczewski, T.J. McConnell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all combined to make four consecutive shots as the Wildcats began to pull away. After just four minutes of action in the half, Arizona led 40-23.
With just 25 seconds to play, Elliott Pitts cut through the lane and hit a floater to put the Wildcats ahead 73-50. Cal turned it over on the final possession of the game and Arizona improved to 18-2 on the year and 6-1 in the Pac-12.
Stat of the Night:
88 - Despite the game being out of reach early in the second half, the Wildcats were able to make 23 of their 26 shots from the charity stripe. It was the second straight game with the Wildcats shooting well from the free throw line and can only bode well for the rest of the season after the team had some early season troubles.
There’s a ton that you can take away from this road trip, but the biggest thing that sticks out is that Arizona has put together a string of quality games that led to wins. After the loss to Oregon State, Stanley Johnson has really turned it on and become the offensive workhorse for this team. Arizona will need him to continue this run in order to make it deep into March.
Johnson is finally starting to play as he was advertised before he came to Arizona. His defense isn't quite there yet, but the freshman has been able to take over on offense when his team needs him to. Johnson has made a huge jump since the start of the season and if he can take one extra step before tournament time, Arizona will be a dangerous team.
All of those minutes that Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dusan Ristic played early on in the season are finally starting to pay off and this weekend showed why. The Wildcats were able to fight through foul trouble in both games and got quality play out of the bench, scoring 24 out of the 73 points.
That was drastic in comparison to California, who got zero production from the bench. Only four players were able to score for the Golden Bears in the game. To make matters worse for California, one of those starters, Jabari Bird, only finished with five points.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"I was excited about our effort level," Miller said. "We were really a team that gave everything we had."
"We want to put ourselves in the best position to be a No. 1 seed in the tournament," Johnson said. "I don't think we can drop any more games on the road or at home. So we're going to try to do our best. I think we're getting better every day, every shootaround. We're going to try and run it out."