Arizona improved to 20-2 with a 79-62 win over Washington State. Here’s a closer look at what happened.
Lauri Markkanen Award:
Lauri Markkanen - The seven-footer dons the honors once again for his performance against the Cougar. Markkanen finished with 16 points on five of eight shooting. At times it seemed like he just couldn't miss. The Freshman also hauled in 13 rebounds in a dominant performance, adding another double-double to his resume.
* It took about 23 minutes of game time, but Arizona finally showed some life early in the second half. With the game tied at 39, Rawle Alkins stole a pass and took it the length of the court for an easy two. Dusan Ristic and Kadeem Allen combined for three free throws before Washington State got three of it own. Allonzo Trier scored in the lane to push the lead back to four.
* The Wildcats were flirting with danger midway through the second half as the Cougars had cut the lead down to 50-48. Arizona got two free throws from Markkanen and jumpers from Trier and Ristic to extend the lead to eight.
* The final nail in the coffin for Washington State came with three minutes remaining in the game. Arizona had been quietly building momentum late into the game, but it was a Trier three-pointer off of a perfect pass from Parker Jackson-Cartwright that put the Wildcats up 75-57 that sealed the deal. The Cougars called timeout to collect themselves, but the damage had been done and the game was out of reach.
Arizona had a bad night and a bad game. There's no way to sugar coat the performance that the Wildcats put forth on Thursday evening. You can chalk it up to a UCLA win hangover or looking ahead to the Washington game, but what matters at the end of the day is that Arizona played poorly and still managed to win by a considerable margin. That is mostly in part to wearing the Cougars down in the second half, but the Wildcats were able to string a few plays together in the final ten minutes that allowed them to pull away.
While he was pressing in the first half, Allonzo Trier found his groove after switching his shoes at halftime. The first shot of the game from the guard was deep, but he buried it. His second shot was from even further and missed by about a foot to the left. After that, Trier seemed to calm down and stay within his game, attacking the basket and taking more opportunistic shots. In the end, he finished with 17 points and dished out five assists in the win which is certainly a step in the right direction for him returning to game shape.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"You can't just incorporate a player -- even though Allonzo played well tonight -- and all of a sudden by hitting on all cylinders from the first second he's able to play until now," Miller said. "There are things we need to improve, adjust, figure out. Tonight felt funny."
"This is my second game in 10 months, so I'm still not in a lot of rhythm," Trier said. "But as I continue to play more, I'll continue to get back to myself."