FINAL: Arizona passes road test in Michigan
The No. 1 Arizona Wildcats came from behind to shock fans in Ann Arbor, Mich. as Arizona defeated the Wolverines 72-70 after trailing for a majority of the contest and by as much as 11 points.
Michigan continued to attack right out of the gate as the Wolverines pushed their lead to the double digits for the first time as forward Mitch McGary dunked the ball to make it a 39-28 advantage just seconds after the second half started. Arizona(11-0) closed the gap fairly quickly with an 11-2 run to tighten the game up within two points.
Sophomores Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski continued to show maturation and growth from their freshmen campaigns, and were the first Wildcats to break double-digits. The two combined for 32 of Arizona’s 72 points and 15 of its 37 rebounds.
Tarczewski put up 14 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes of play, and sunk all four free throw attempts.
Arizona's Brandon Ashley dunks over Michigan's Mitch McGary in the second half at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, December 14, 2013. The Wildcats defeated the Wolverines, 72-70.
Ashley finished the game with 18 points, six rebounds and two steals, despite being in foul trouble, again.
Freshman forward Aaron Gordon continued his highly heralded freshman campaign and compiled 14 points, five rebounds and two assists to go along with a block and a steal.
As the clock continued to count down, Arizona was able to slow the game down and became more efficient offensively. However, it continued to come up just short of the Wolverines, until the final minutes.
With 12:13 remaining in the contest, Arizona found itself within striking distance as it managed to shrink the deficit to 47-46, but saw Michigan take control and extend its lead to five.
With 7:55 left, the Wildcats were still trailing by six and at 5:28, Arizona decreased its deficit to four.
With 2:32 on the clock, freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tied the game at 62. Then the freshman gave the lead 63-62 with a free throw. Michigan retaliated to take a 64-63 advantage with 1:48 remaining.
The final minutes consisted of five lead changes before Arizona finally took the lead for good, 67-66 with 24 seconds left.
Junior guard Nick Johnson scored six of his 14 points in the final minute with six free throws on six attempts.
Michigan was unable to convert a three point buzzer beater.
Up next for Arizona is a home game with Southern on Thursday at 7 p.m. Arizona time on the Pac-12 Networks.
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17