Going into tonight’s Big 12/Pac 12 match up, it was supposed to be the first competitive game of Arizona’s season. It turned out, however, to be just like the previous ones. The Wildcats came out and smoked the Red Raiders behind Nick Johnson’s 18 points and a total of five players scoring in double digits.
In their first road game of the season, Arizona was facing the NCAA’s leading offensive team, but the Wildcats buckled down on the defensive end, holding Tech to just 35% shooting. UA on the other hand scored at will, making 55% of their shots. Arizona has now scored over 80 points in four of their five games. The Wildcats also dominated the boards, out rebounding the Red Raiders 37-26, much in part to Kaleb Tarczewski’s career high 13 rebounds.
Texas Tech prides itself on their fast pace offense, think ‘Seven Seconds or Less’ on steroids, but they could not keep themselves composed, committing 14 turnovers and playing out of control for most of the night. Coming into the game, TT averaged nearly 90 points per game, but all of those were against teams you nor I have ever heard of. In their first test against a top tier team, they hit a road block the size of Texas. UA’s size and athleticism stifled Tech for all but a quick run in the second half, forcing constantly into tough shots.
Besides Johnson, Arizona was led by senior Solomon Hill who did pretty everything. He had 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals, hit two threes, and committed no fouls; pretty good stat line. Mark Lyons, Brandon Ashley, and Grant Jerrett also went into double figures scoring 14, 12, and 11 respectively.
The only thing you can take from this game is the freshman now have an away game under their belt. Was it hostile? Not really, but they now understand what it takes to win on the road. For those who wondered if Arizona was for real by beating up on cupcakes in the first four games can now shelve those thoughts till December 15th.
Arizona is now 5-0 and with the loss to Kentucky earlier today, the Wildcats should move up to at least number eight and maybe even higher if they can slide pass Louisville who lost to Duke and barely squeaked out a win to Illinois State.
UA takes on Southern Mississippi in their next game on Tuesday at 7:30pm at the McKale Center.