No. 1 Arizona holds Washington State to historic lows
With about seven minutes left in the first half, the fact that it would be a historic night hit freshman forward Aaron Gordon when he saw Washington State had only scored one point.
“I was like ‘hey, they haven’t scored a field goal yet,’” Gordon said.
The No. 1 Wildcats (14-0. 1-0 Pac-12) crushed an undermanned WSU squad (7-6, 0-1) to remain undefeated.
UA head coach Sean Miller said he felt sorry for the WSU coaching staff.
WSU was missing two starters, DaVonté Lacy, their leading scorer and Dexter Kernich-Drew. Their leading scorer on Thursday night was Junior Longrus who had six points.
“We know that they were playing short handed,” Miller said. “Having said that, we know that we have to play the game and I thought our defensive effort was outstanding.”
Washington State head coach Ken Bone said, the Cougars spent 30 seconds talking about the game in the locker room and “are ready to move on to the next game.”
“Arizona jumped on us early and it never really ended,” Bone said.
Washington State set a trio of McKale Center records for UA opponents in the loss: lowest points scored (25), fewest field goals (nine) and lowest shooting percentage (.20). The previous lows were 37 points and 13 field goals by NAU in 1989.
“It was different, because you don’t see too many games like this,” said Arizona junior guard Nick Johnson. “We knew that they were really limited as far as scoring.”
The 25 points tied Washington State’s lowest scoring output, a mark set against Idaho in 1938.
“It wasn’t their night for a lot of reasons,” Miller said.
The Wildcats held the Cougars to 20 percent shooting and 17 percent from three point range on 9-45 shooting, including just two field goals in the first half.
“We wanted to start this Pac-12 season off right,” Johnson said. “We loved what we did in non-conference, but I mean we’re really here to prove to people that we’re the number one team and we want to keep it that way.”
Arizona shot 44 percent, out rebounded the Cougars 42-28 and forced 14 turnovers while committing 11.
“It definitely wasn’t our best performance offensively, in the first half we were sluggish and couldn’t hit shots, but I thought we did a good job in the second half,” said junior guard T.J. McConnell.
In only 22 minutes sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski led the way with 11 points and three rebounds. This was his return to the line up after missing the previous two games due to an ankle injury.
“He makes a huge difference when he is in there,” Johnson said of Tarczewski.
McConnell had eight points, four rebounds and three assists, while Johnson had eight points and Gordon had only five but 10 rebounds.
Johnson and Miller said that the blow out was, partially the Cougars fault and partially Arizona doing well.
“It was probably a little bit of both,” Johnson said
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