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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Allonzo Trier goes down and Deandre Ayton shines in Arizona’s blowout 83-53 win over North Dakota State

Simon Asher
Allonzo Trier rests on the bench after leaving the Arizona-North Dakota game with a knee injury. Trier left the game with 15 points.

Arizona fans watched Allonzo Trier go down with a left knee injury and Deandre Ayton score 25 points as No. 18 Arizona Men’s basketball won its sixth straight and moved to 9-3 Monday in a dominating 83-53 performance against North Dakota State at the Mckale Center. 

With 9:53 left in the game, Trier clashed knees with NDSU senior guard Paul Miller and crumbled to the floor. Trier laid on the ground clutching his knee with his left hand and pounding the floor with his right. Mckale Center watched in almost perfect silence for over a minute as the trainers came over to evaluate him. 

Trier was helped up and then walked back to the locker room with assistance and an ovation from the crowd. A few minutes later Trier came out of the locker room with his knee wrapped up and returned to the bench. He scored 15 points and had four assists on 5-8 shooting before he left the game. 

“He suffered some sort of bone bruise,” head coach Sean Miller said. “It’s scary for a player when that happens, it doesn’t feel right. But we are hoping for some good news. It seems to be positive, but we will know more tomorrow.” 

Freshman Deandre Ayton had 25 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes on the floor with 11-for-17 shooting. 

Ten minutes into the game Ayton had barely touched the ball and had just two points. Then Miller sat senior center Dusan Ristic and started getting Ayton the ball down low. With Ristic on the bench, Ayton immediately scored on three back-to-back possessions, including a highlight dunk and a turn-around jumper. 

From that point on, Ayton controlled the game, scoring at will with his mid-range jump shot and dunking over the smaller NDSU players around the rim. For most of the game, NDSU tried to play him one-on-one and didn’t double-team him like previous teams have, letting Ayton quip that going one-on-one feels like “paradise.”

“He has to get the ball,” Miller said. “The percentages are just overwhelmingly in our favor.”

Arizona's Deandre Ayton rocks the net as he slams the ball against North Dakota State. Ayton led the team with 25 points.
Arizona’s Deandre Ayton rocks the net as he slams the ball against North Dakota State. Ayton led the team with 25 points.

Arizona initially got off to a slow start, with back-to-back turnovers and poor shooting, letting NDSU jump to a early 10-6 lead five minutes into the game. The Wildcats went 1-9 from three in the first 10 minutes and shot 43 percent from the floor while letting the Bison shoot 50 percent and 66 percent from deep. 

After the slow start in the first 10 minutes, the Wildcats found a rhythm offensively behind a three from Trier and Ayton’s seven points in three back-to-back possessions. On defense, Arizona held NDSU to 0-7 in the last 6:54 of the first half and then went on a 16-0 run, capped by a Trier-to-Ayton alley-oop dunk with five seconds remaining, to close out the half up 38-22.  

Arizona picked up where it left off in the second half and extended the run to 26-3 with a alley-oop dunk from Rawle Alkins. 

North Dakota State’s best player, Paul Miller, had a game high 12 points for the Bison. Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Rawle Alkins faced him defensively for most of the game and held him to 4-for-13 from the floor and 2-for-7 from three. Miller averaged 16 points-per-game before Monday’s game. 

Overall the Wildcats shot 50 percent from the floor and 25 percent from deep while holding the Bisons to 37 percent from the floor and 30 percent from deep. Miller was pleased with their defensive effort. 

“Tonight we took a big step, I thought we didn’t defend the 3-point shot particularly well against New Mexico, but tonight we did,” Miller said. “We challenged the eight threes they made, it wasn’t like we gave it to them.”

After coming off of his career high 26 points at New Mexico, Alkins had 11 points on 3-for-8 shooting from the floor, while going 0-3 from deep against NDSU. Playing in just his third game of the season, since missing the first nine games with a broken foot, the sophomore guard wasn’t worried about his performance.

“I feel good, I feel good,” Alkins said. “Every day I get a little better and get a little more comfortable.” 

Arizona's Rawle Alkins hesitates, trying to trip up North Dakota's Jared Samuelson (11) before taking a step-back shot. Alkins had 11 points in the game.
Arizona’s Rawle Alkins hesitates, trying to trip up North Dakota’s Jared Samuelson (11) before taking a step-back shot. Alkins had 11 points in the game.

Alex Barcello checked in with 11:14 left in the game after sitting out against New Mexico with a sprained ankle. The freshman point guard played 11 minutes and had four points on 2-for-4 shooting. Miller said Barcello had an entire week off to rest and has recovered from his ankle sprain. 

Arizona out-rebounded NDSU 41-29 overall and 12-8 on the offensive glass. After the first two turnovers, the Wildcats finished the game with five total, while the Bison had 13.  

The Wildcats move on to play University of Connecticut at home in the Mckale Center at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2.  

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