The Rundown: On Smith's start, Ayton's record and team shooting
Arizona men’s basketball hit the road this week for the first time since being upset by Colorado on Jan. 6th. Wednesday’s game against California saw the Wildcats run away with a 79-58 win in Berkeley, Calif. Here’s a rundown of some of the most noteworthy aspects of the game.
Smith fills in for Rawle
Sophomore guard Rawle Alkins was a late scratch for the game due to soreness in his right foot, the same one that he had surgery on in September. That saw Dylan Smith get the starting nod against the Golden Bears.
Smith had one of his better performances of the season for Arizona and scored 14 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting, including 4-4 from 3-point range in 27 minutes of action. The redshirt sophomore also produced on the defensive end of the floor, grabbing three defensive rebounds, getting a block and a steal.
Smith rotated starts with freshman Brandon Randolph during Rawle Alkins’ absence over the first nine games of the season, so if Alkins can’t go on Saturday against Stanford, it would not be surprising to see Smith start again.
Hot from the floor and beyond the arc
Arizona didn’t light up the scoreboard in triple-digit fashion, but the Wildcats had one of the better overall shooting performances of the season. The Wildcats shot a highly efficient 31-50 from the floor (62%) and a 11-19 from 3-point range (58%).
Two of the most efficient scoring players on the night were point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright who hit 5-7 shots, including 4-6 from 3-point range and forward Deandre Ayton who shot 9-11 from the field.
Ayton makes history
It didn’t happen last weekend against Oregon so it was only a matter of time before Ayton broke the record for freshman double-doubles in a season.
The 7-1 freshman etched his name in Arizona record books as he tallied 20 points and 11 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season. That broke a record previously held by Michael Wright and Al Fleming.
If there was one drawback from the 21-point victory over Cal, it would be that Arizona turned the ball over a whooping 21 times.
Jackson-Cartwright uncharacteristically had three first half turnovers but cleaned it up with none in the second half. Every UA starter turned the ball over at least twice with junior Allonzo Trier and senior Dusan Ristic also turning the ball over three times each.
Thankfully for Arizona’s case, Cal converted those 21 turnovers in to just 17 points and just six fast break points.
10 minute drill
From the 12:05 mark in the second half and until the 2:55 mark, the Golden Bears didn’t score a basket. Cal trailed by 10 points, a manageable deficit, at the 12:05 point but Arizona boat raced Cal from that point, going on an extended 22-9 run until Deschon Winston finally hit a layup for the Golden Bears.
Arizona got timely 3’s from Jackson-Cartwright, Trier and Smith during the run to put the game out of reach.
Battle for the top
Arizona will face Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The Cardinal currently sit tied with the Wildcats at first in the Pac-12 with a 5-1 record. The winner of Saturday's game will take sole possession of first place.
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