Arizona improved to 6-1 with a 85-63 win over Texas Southern on Wednesday night. Here's a closer look at what happened:
Player of the Game:
Lauri Markkanen - It was pretty obvious from the beginning of the game that the freshman was going to be able to get his buckets. Markkanen went for 11 points in the first half, hitting all three of his long balls. He finished with 19 points, six rebounds, and five assists on the evening. The Fin was often tasked with guarding smaller players throughout the night and he did struggle with it at times, but also finished with two blocks to his name in his defensive effort.
* Arizona jumped out to an early lead and never really looked back. The Wildcats used several Markkanen baskets to explode for a 19-4 lead just minutes into the contest.
* Just before halftime, the Wildcats were able to extend the lead even further. Parker Jackson-Cartwright left the game and Kadeem Allen started to take over. The senior was able to work with Kobi Simmons in transition and in the half court for a 12-2 scoring run that put Arizona up 43-20
* With just under four minutes to go in the game, Kadeem Allen dribbled into the lane and found Keanu Pinder on the baseline for an easy slam. The basket put Arizona up 76-57 and effectively sealed the game for the Wildcats.
You can't sugar coat this game very much, but I'll do my best. Arizona played with some fire and shot the ball well from deep. The Wildcats were solid on defense and held Derrick Griffin in check for most of the night, which was a concern coming into the game. Arizona distributed the ball well to the tune of 20 total assists and limited the turnovers with 11.
With that being said, the Wildcats are in some serious trouble with Parker Jackson-Cartwright going down with an injury and not returning from the locker room. Arizona is in a tough spot without another true point guard on the roster. Kadeem Allen and Kobi Simmons did a decent job filling in after the junior left the game, but it was clear that they were both still adjusting to taking over the role full time.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"Kadeem is one of the great leaders that I have coached," Miller said. "He is not the outgoing type, but his effort level on a daily basis shows he is playing to win. He is our only senior and he is playing with his heart."
"With this being my last year, coach gave me a different role on the team," Allen said. "With me being the only senior, I have to lead by example and try to lead the younger guys.