The Rundown: On first place, key adjustments and Miller's streak
Two of Stanford's players watch as Arizona's Parker Jackson-Cartwright takes a shot on Jan. 20, 2018.
Arizona men’s basketball completed a road sweep of the Northern California schools, finishing the trip off with a thrilling 73-71 win over the Stanford Cardinal. Here’s a rundown of the biggest topics from the game.
The most important takeaway from this game is that Arizona now takes sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 standings. UA, now 6-1 in conference play, has won four games in a row since losing to Colorado in Boulder the first weekend in January.
Arizona would not have beaten Stanford if it wasn’t for the adjustments made by UA head coach Sean Miller. The decision to switch Rawle Alkins over to guard Stanford’s red-hot Reid Travis in the second half proved to be one of those game-saving adjustments.
Travis was a force most of the game, finishing with 20 points, but Alkins’ defense kept the 6-8 forward on lockdown during the late stretches. The redshirt junior went scoreless the final 14:27 of the game, which helped Arizona come back from an 11-point deficit.
Ristic steps up:
Deandre Ayton saw a very limited role in the second half after getting himself into foul trouble and the freshmen actually fouled out with 10 seconds remaining. Ayton finished the game with only 9 points, 8 rebounds but an impressive six blocks in 28 minutes of action.
The void that Ayton left when he wasn’t on the court was filled in by fellow seven-footer Dusan Ristic. Ristic finished second on the team with 18 points on 9-13 shooting and nine rebounds.
Senior point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright didn’t have his typical steady shooting performance but his impact was felt elsewhere, especially with the game on the line.
Jackson-Cartwright had two steals in the final 1:30 of the game to swing the momentum in the Wildcat’s favor. His second one came with 19 seconds left as Stanford was moving up court to try to tie the game.
Still unbeaten against the Cardinal:
If there is one surprising stat from the Sean Miller era, it’s that he has still yet to lose to Stanford. Arizona is a perfect 15-0 against the Cardinal under Miller.
Granted, Stanford hasn’t been as strong as it was in the early 2000’s when the Arizona and Stanford rivalry was at its peak, but the Cardinal remain the only Pac-12 team that Sean Miller hasn’t lost to.
Ready for a rematch?
Arizona will have a chance for revenge on Thursday night when it hosts Colorado (12-7, 4-3). The game will be especially heated considering the comments that head coach Tad Boyle made after the first meeting regarding the impending FBI investigation.
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