Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs Arizona State

Arizona was unable to leave Tempe with a win on Saturday, losing 81-78. Read on to find out more about the game, including the player of the game, the key moments, and more.

Arizona could not make up for a poor performance on Saturday, falling 81-78 to Arizona State. Here’s a closer look at what happened:

Arizona Player of the Game:

T.J. McConnell – The senior point guard did whatever he could in the game, hitting 11 of his 19 shots and finishing with 25 points. He struggled through foul trouble at times, but Arizona gets blown out without McConnell at the helm.

Key Moments:

  • Midway through the first half, Arizona and Arizona State were tied at 14. TJ. McConnell hit a three pointer to put the Wildcats up by 17-14. After a Sun Devil basket, Gabe York hit his first long ball of the game and the Wildcats' lead was pushed to 20-16 with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half.

  • Shortly before halftime, Arizona’s offense went ice cold and the Sun Devils were able to take advantage. Arizona State went on a 9-0 run with McConnell on the bench to take a 27-25 lead over the Wildcats.

    It didn’t end there as the Sun Devils slowly pulled away, going ahead by as many as eight and heading into the locker room leading by seven.

  • With 13 minutes left in the game, the Wildcats fought back to get within striking distance. Rondae Jefferson forced a turnover by Jonathan Gilling and found a wide open Stanley Johnson for a slam dunk that cut the Sun Devils lead to 52-50 and forced a Herb Sendek timeout.

    ASU answered out of the break with Gilling getting a wide open three ball to put the lead back to five.

  • With the shot clock winding down and 52 seconds left in the game, Bo Barnes hit an off balance three-pointer falling away from the basket to seal the win for the Sun Devils. The shot gave ASU a seven point lead at the time, but the Wildcats continued to fight, cutting the lead to as little as three in the final moments before losing 81-78.

    Stat of the Night:

    81 - Arizona's defense was at its worst all season in Tempe. The Wildcats allowed the Sun Devils to score 81 points, the most in a loss this season. It was also the second most points that Arizona has allowed all season, just behind the 82 that it gave up at Stanford. The Sun Devils shot 50-percent from the field and 47-percent from beyond the arc in the game.

    General Thoughts:

  • Heading into the game, I was expecting Arizona to run away with this one. The returning players remembered the loss last season, the team was playing well, and ASU was trending down. Leave it to a two hour trip up I-10 to change all of that.

    Arizona State went to the duo of Tra Holder and Savon Goodman throughout the game and they both carried the Sun Devils until Bo Barnes finished it off. The Wildcats had no answer for numerous Sun Devils throughout the night and that continues to be a major problem for the Wildcats, who rely heavily on their defense. That is something that can certainly doom Arizona down the stretch in Las Vegas and the NCAA Tournament.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "We did not get the job done on the defensive end, really in any way," Miller said. "Around the basket we had no rim protector, we had no physicality and it seemed a little too easy."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "We just weren't ready, to be honest," said McConnell. "When we have a team that is not ready, we aren't going to win against any team."

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