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Analysis: Randolph's shooting, Williams' return big part of Arizona's win

Madeleine Viceconte | The Daily Wildcat Ryan Luther (10), Brandon Randolph (5) and Justin Coleman (12) celebrate the referee making a call in their favor during the game against Stanford on Sunday, Feb. 24 at McKale Center. Arizona beat Stanford 70-54.

Arizona men's basketball defeated Stanford 70-54, sweeping the Bay Area schools to give the Wildcats much needed momentum as they prepare for their final three games of the season. The ‘Cats got a career-high 16 points from Ira Lee, who was bolstered by the return of Brandon Williams after missing six games with a knee injury. Here are three more reasons the Wildcats were able to defeat the Cardinal on Sunday:

Slump over?

Brandon Randolph still leads Arizona in scoring at a little over 13 points per game, but that number has decreased dramatically as the sophomore has been in a sever shooting slump the month of February.

Randolph has averaged just 5.2 points per game during the month, going 11-46 from the field and just 1-16 from 3. He scored 10 points on against the Cardinal, his highest total since Jan. 31 against ASU, while also going 2-3 from 3-point range.

          RELATED: Best photos from win over Stanford

“He’s taking the same shots. He’s just making them now,” Lee said postgame. “Guys get in slumps sometimes. He actually got 300 more shots up after each practice, so it's starting to show right now.”

Starting fast

Arizona controlled momentum from tipoff, as Stanford never led. The Wildcats got out to a 14-3 lead, with Chase Jeter and Justin Coleman each scoring six points before the first media timeout. The lead gave the Wildcats a little bit of cushion as Stanford fought to get in the game, eventually cutting the lead to three in the first half.

The Cardinal was never able to mount enough momentum to cut into the Arizona lead in the second half, as its largest run of the game was six. Lee used a 6-0 run of his own late in the second half to effectively put Stanford away for good.

“Just going back to what coach always says and honoring the process,” Lee said on his improvement. “Just working hard every day, being consistent and going 110 percent. Now I’m seeing the results pay off.”

Arizona's Chase Jeter dunks the ball during the Arizona-Stanford game on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

Bench production

The Wildcats bench outscored Stanford 23-3 on Sunday, thanks to Lee's outstanding play boosted by Williams' return. As Arizona moves forward, quality production out of their second unit will be key, especially with Williams potentially moving back into the starting lineup. 

Miller has kept his rotation around eight or nine players this season, and games such as Sunday, when Lee was able to provide a spark as Jeter fouled out in the second half, will be big in terms of how far Arizona can go this season.

“Being able to add a quality player that has been out for a while, its a real shot in the arm for us,” Miller said. “Part of why you saw the bench do as well is because we’re one player deeper.”

Arizona will go for its third-straight win Thursday, as they travel to the northwest to take on Oregon State at 7 p.m.

The team celebrates after beating Stanford on Sunday, Feb. 24 at McKale Center. The final score was 70-54.

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