Red raided: Arizona Wildcats rout Texas Tech
Ten minutes into Tuesday night’s game, Texas Tech forward Dejan Kravic found himself lying on the floor.
Arizona freshman forward Aaron Gordon went out of his way to stay on one side of the court, amongst a group of Red Raiders, and reach out his hand to pull the 7-foot senior back onto his feet.
Gordon then continued to lead the Wildcats (8-0) to a 79-58 win with 19 points, eight rebounds and zero fouls.
The young leader has been a model for good sportsmanship both on and off the court this season, and the coaches love him for that.
Tyler Baker/ The Daily Wildcat UA freshman forward Aaron Gordon dunks the ball against Texas Tech on Tuesday at the McKale Center. The Wildcats defeated Texas Tech 79-58.
“Aaron is one of those guys that you like to be around, because he’s the same every day,” head coach Sean Miller said.
After Arizona opened with a 10-0 lead, it didn’t take long to notice that things were going the Wildcats’ way.
Sophomore forward Brandon Ashley compiled 18 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Last season, he averaged 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
“Brandon Ashley, on offense, that was one of the best games that he has played at Arizona,” Miller said.
Ashley also shot 2-for-2 from the three-point line, a part of his game that has greatly improved since last season.
“I put a lot of work in the offseason and I’m still putting work in right now, so I’m definitely building up a larger comfort level with that,” Ashley said.
Arizona struggled from the free throw line, shooting 19-33 for 58 percent. Even though Gordon shone overall, he only shot 4-12 from the line.
“He’ll probably hit 300 free throws tomorrow, because nobody feels worse than him that he missed them tonight,” Miller said.
Three-point shooting, however, was another story.
The Wildcats shot 45 percent from the three-point line compared to Texas Tech’s 9 percent, with Johnson sinking three consecutive three-pointers in the first half and finishing with 18 points, 4-6 from the three-point line.
“He’s on a different level,” junior guard T.J. McConnell said. “He’s stepped up and made some big shots when we need him to.”
At the half, Arizona led 35-25 but had 11 turnovers, finishing with 15.
“You can’t have 11 turnovers in one half and feel good about it,” Miller said. “The good news there is we did a better job in the second half.”
Senior forwards Jaye Crockett and Kader Tapsoba led the Red Raiders with 11 points and three rebounds.
The Wildcats did not play with any less energy than they did against No. 10 Duke, whom they defeated in New York on Friday.
“You come into every game expecting the same level of competition. You want to come into every game playing at your highest level,” Ashley said. “Texas Tech is a good team, they have some talented players so we didn’t look at them any differently than we did Duke or we would any other school.”
—Follow Megan Coghlan @MeganCoghlan