Arizona moved to 5-0 on the season with an overtime win over Santa Clara 75-73 on Thursday night. Here's a closer look at what happened:
Player of the Game:
Jared Brownridge - The sophomore guard for Santa Clara had the game of his life against Arizona. Brownridge went off for a career high 44 points in the game, with 15 of those coming at the free throw line. He poured in seven long balls and grabbed five rebounds. Even though Brownridge put up a lot of shots, he still managed to dish out three assists as well.
* Santa Clara hung with Arizona for the first few minutes of the game, but the Wildcats soon began to pull away. Leading 14-11, Arizona used a 16-4 run to pull away, but Santa Clara answered with a 12-0 run and kept the game within reach.
* Both teams traded blows throughout the game, but it came down to the final moments of regulation before Arizona was in serious trouble. With seven seconds left, Jarvis Pugh missed two crucial free throws to keep the game tied. Gabe York missed a three-pointer as time expired, sending the game to overtime.
* With the game tied at 73 in overtime, York got the call and was fouled as he drove to the basket with four seconds left. The senior hit one of two free throws to put the Wildcats up by one. After the made basket, KJ Feagin stepped out of bounds as the clock ticked down. Ryan Anderson made one of his two free throws and Arizona survived and advanced.
Stat of the Game:
14 - Arizona shot just 14-percent from three-point range for the game. The Wildcats only hit three long balls all night, with one coming from York in overtime. Allonzo Trier and Mark Tollefsen each added a three ball of their own. The most interesting problem about this statistic is that the Wildcats had 22 shots from downtown in the game with York taking ten of those. Arizona needs to shoot better as a team and needs this performance to be an outlier if it is going to be successful this season.
I don't think Arizona could have possibly played any worse in this game. The Wildcats played horrendous defense throughout the night, shot poorly from beyond the arc, and settled for bad shots much too often. It was the perfect storm for Santa Clara, who had Brownridge play the game of his life.
The one positive that the Wildcats can take away from this game is that even with all of the negatives, there were still some positives. Arizona won the game, improving to 5-0. Despite the atrocious three-point field goal percetage for the game, the Wildcats actually had a respectable 42-percent from the field overall. Ryan Anderson finished with another double-double (17 points and 12 rebounds) after sitting out the previous game with an injury.
Every team needs a game like this as a wake-up call to remind the players that no team is unbeatable. When that message can come in a win and not a loss, it can be incredibly beneficial. The Wildcats shouldn't sleep on any opponents any time soon and I fully expect them to come out and try to put Providence down early.