Arizona improved to 23-3 with a 62-57 win over California. Here’s a closer look at what happened.
Player of the Game:
Kobi Simmons - The freshman played well in his second game since being removed from the starting lineup. Simmons hit both of his long balls en route to a team-high 13 points. Simmons also dished out three assists in the win. The guard has continued to play well offensively on the court and his play was a major factor in the win.
* Arizona's offense was relatively quiet in the first half, but the Wildcats picked it up just before heading to the locker room. Kadeem Allen hit a three pointer with just over 90 seconds remaining on the clock. Almost immediately afterwards, Allen stole a pass and found Simmons on the break for a dunk that ignited McKale Center. Parker Jackson-Cartwright capped a 7-0 run on the last basket of the half with a floater of the glass.
* Midway through the second half, California made a push to get back in the game, cutting the lead down to just four. Dusan Ristic wasn't having any of it as the big man hit back-to-back jumpers over Kameron Rooks to push the Wildcats lead back to eight.
* As time wound down, the game still wasn't decided. Jabari Bird hit a three ball with ten second remaining and Arizona's lead was down to 61-57. Allonzo Trier made one of two free throws and California was unable to make a desperation attempt from beyond the arc as the Wildcats escaped.
It may not have been that pretty of a game, but outside of Trier and Lauri Markkanen, Arizona's offense looked completely fine. Markkanen seems to still be finding his shot and was short on a few of his attempts in the game. Trier was pressing a bit much and forcing it when he didn't need to. With that being said, both of those players had poor offensive performances and the Wildcats still managed to grab a solid victory against Cal.
Even though Markkanen was still absent on offense, he helped completely shut down Cal superstar Ivan Rabb. The sophomore finished with just four points on two of seven shooting, only had three rebounds, and turned the ball over three times. The Finn bullied Rabb in the lane all night and refused to let the Golden Bear get any good looks. Rabb couldn't get anything going and it took California completely out of the game.
Sean Miller Quotable:
"It was a total team win, but I would give the player of the game to Kobi," Sean Miller said. "Kobi was as valuable of a player tonight as anybody. He was great in the first half both on offense and defense. You love to see him play that many minutes with no turnovers as well as having three assists and going five for eight from the field.
"He shot with confidence, played with confidence, and played really hard."
"We thought Cal was going to come in here and try to bully us and play more physical," Allen said. "Tonight we passed the test and matched their intensity and we got the job done."