Arizona defeated Florida on Saturday night. Read on for numerous notes on who stood out, how the Wildcats got it done, and more.
After the Arizona
football squad was able to complete an improbable comeback late in the New Mexico Bowl, the Wildcats' basketball team would not be outdone as UA stormed back to overcome an 11-point second half deficit to defeat Florida
65-64. The victory keeps Arizona perfect at 8-0 and sent the Gators to their first loss of the season.
The Wildcats showed a lot of guts down the stretch when it seemed like they were dead in the water. UA trailed by six points with a minute remaining in the game, but the Wildcats played extremely tough defense in the final minute and forced Florida into committing multiple turnovers. Arizona ultimately capitalized and was able to pull off a huge victory in the process.
Senior Mark Lyons scored 14 points and hit the game-winning shot with just seven seconds remaining in the contest. Lyons finished the game 5-for-8 from the floor, but no shot was more important than his running floater that he banked in. In addition to his 14 points, Lyons also added a pair of assists, three rebounds and a steal.
Forward Solomon Hill knocked down five out of his nine field goal attempts on his way to a game-high 18 points. When UA needed someone to be assertive on offense, Hill answered the call as he was able to find ways to get to the basket and draw fouls. On top of his solid shooting, Hill connected on all six of his free throw attempts.
Sophomore Nick Johnson put together another strong all-around performance on Saturday night. He finished with 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting, but he was mostly deadly from beyond the arc, where he knocked down three out of his four attempts. As he has done throughout the season, Johnson contributed in other areas by dishing out three assists and grabbing three rebounds.
Johnson also continues to be a serious factor on the defensive end of the floor. He picked up another four steals, including one late in the game that allowed Arizona to have an extra shot at pulling off the victory. Johnsons's defense in the final minute of the game was smothering and it was as important as anything else that happened in UA's favor on Saturday.
The Gators shot extremely well from long range, hitting on 10 of their 18 shot attempts from three-point territory. Florida's efficiency from deep is really what allowed it to hold the lead for much of the game because Arizona's defense inside the arc was strong. The Wildcats held the Gators to 41.1 percent shooting from two-point range and contested nearly every shot Florida took from inside the arc.
The fouls were about even for both sides, but UA's more aggressive play led to more free throw attempts. UA shot 18-for-21 from the charity stripe, while the Gators only went to the line eight times, knocking down six of those attempts. In a one-point game, an advantage of plus-10 at the free-throw line proved to be one of the most deciding factors in the outcome.