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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Allonzo Trier’s return boosts Arizona to top of Pac-12

Allonzo+Trier+dribbles+down+the%26nbsp%3Bcourt%2C+in+Pauley+Pavilion%2C+on+Jan.+21.+Trier+finished+the+game+with+12+points+and+seven+rebounds+in+his+first+game%26nbsp%3Bthis+season+due+to+a+suspension+for+PEDs.
Simon Asher

Allonzo Trier dribbles down the court, in Pauley Pavilion, on Jan. 21. Trier finished the game with 12 points and seven rebounds in his first game this season due to a suspension for PED’s.

Allonzo Trier took a page out of the Donald Trump playbook, he made Arizona great again. Trier had been patient, restless, supportive and irritated during his time out of the Arizona Wildcats lineup, on Saturday against No. 3 UCLA, he finally vented his frustration. Trier missed the first 19 games of the season due to a failed drug test for PED’s which was overturned on appeal, but he could not return to the lineup until the substance was entirely out of his system, which apparently happened late Friday.

Trier’s impact on the Arizona lineup was one of the factors in a 96-85 win in Pauley Pavilion, extending Arizona’s winning streak to 12 and places them firmly atop the Pac-12 with Oregon. Trier came into Pauley dressed in a grey warmup suit sporting some headphones and looked ready—as ready as anyone who has missed 19 games can look. His warmup was impressive, he was quick, explosive and hyped up. The distractions from the UCLA student section didn’t seem to phase him as they chanted out “steroids” or “PED’s” anytime he did anything. During the game Trier was taunted by the students at seemingly any significant move, checking into the game, “STEROIDS, STEROIDS, STEROIDS”, getting fouled and going to the line, “STEROIDS, STEROIDS, STEROIDS”, every move he made, every step he took, they were watching him…sorry Sting.

When Trier came into the game he looked poised, and despite missing his first 3-point attempt he was able to play within the framework of the team and not cause too many waves by forcing his own production. Instead, he hauled in several rebounds and late in the half scored six points in 55 seconds to extend the Wildcat lead to 11 heading into the locker room.

“It means the world,” said Arizona head coach Sean Miller in reference to Trier’s return. “If things didn’t work out for us today, if [Trier] didn’t play well today, it still means the world.”

The Wildcats reaped the benefits of Trier’s return in several different ways. He was another scoring threat on the floor which enabled the Wildcats to keep UCLA honest and not cheat over to Lauri Markkanen and Kobi Simmons, which allowed them to hit several shots from three—nine in total on the evening, most with Trier on the floor.

While his offensive flow hasn’t come back quite yet, Trier had 12 points and was able to penetrate consistently and kick out, he had four assists on the night as well as attacking the boards with seven. He was a presence in the game without needing to be dominant offensively, perhaps showing the true potential of this Arizona team.

Miller was able to go back to his crazy scientist ways and at one point used a four guard lineup consisting of Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Kadeem Allen, Simmons and Chance Comanche. The ability to show teams different looks and lineups is every coaches dream, Trier gives Arizona all those possibilities.

“It’s huge, just to give our team confidence,” Markkanen said. “We have almost our whole team once again.”

Miller was able to use the additional body to provide more rest for players which seems to have curbed the second half blues Arizona has recently struggled with so much. They were fresher and more alert on both ends of the floor and it resulted in them weathering a 10-1 run which cut the lead to two in the second half. The Wildcats came back and scored at will, boosting their lead back up to 10 on the heels of a dunk by Trier and a three by Markkanen. This was the turning point in a game that ended up as a double digit victory over a top ranked team.

“After he got settled, after the first eight or nine minutes, he was Trier,” Simmons said. “Big time, he adds more depth and I’m pretty sure everybody knows what Allonzo trier can do … We added him, got him going and it was just more fun.”

Fans will be able to see Trier’s return to McKale Thursday when the Wildcats take on Washington State at 7:30 p.m. MST.

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