After a weak performance on defense last week against USC and UCLA on the road, Sean Miller focused on defense for this entire week before playing ASU. In fact, the Wildcats only used one practice to prepare for the specifics of Arizona State, spending the rest of their time working on man-to-man.
Arizona State actually outshot Arizona (46.5% from the floor vs. 44.4% from the floor), but the Wildcats made up for the difference with good defense and pure desire to want it more. Arizona forced 16 turnovers–including 10 steals–and outrebounded the Devils 32 to 22 (on the offensive glass, 10 to 3). Nick Johnson frustrated Arizona State’s Jahi Carson, who could only muster three points in the final 13 minutes of the game with Johnson in his face.
Johnson frustrated Arizona State on all levels, making sure that Arizona would come away with the win on Senior Day at McKale Center. He led the way with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Other impressive performances came from Kaleb Tarczewski (9 points, 8 rebounds), who made Arizona State’s Jordan Backynski look like he belonged back in high school, Kevin Parrom (13 points, 7 rebounds) and Solomon Hill (12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals).
Other interesting notes: The Ooh Aah Man gave one final court appearance, the officiating was absolutely abysmal (Arizona State was in the bonus with 17 minutes left in the second half, as the refs managed to blow the whistle on Arizona seven times in three minutes; three ASU players fouled out), five Arizona seniors have played their last game at McKale (Quinton Crawford, Max Wiepking, Mark Lyons, Kevin Parrom, Solomon Hill), UCLA wins the Pac-12 Championship outright after Oregon chokes against Utah, and #4 seed Arizona will most likely face #5 seed Colorado on Thursday in the Pac-12 Tournament.