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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Men’s basketball notebook: Takeaways from Arizona’s win over Utah

Simon Asher
Arizona’s Dusan Ristic and Brandon Randolph (5) share words after a foul on Randolph.

SALT LAKE CITY– The Arizona men’s basketball team found a way to win Thursday despite a hot second half shooting performance from Utah. Here are the top five takeaways from the game. 

Deandre Ayton

Arizona would have had a tough time winning if it was not for Ayton’s 24 points and 14 rebounds. Ayton had a quiet first half with five points. But when Utah went on a shooting run in the second half, Ayton kept the Wildcats in the game with his presence around the basket and his rebounding ability. 

Head coach Sean Miller likened Ayton to a good running back on a football team. 

“Deandre is like that football team that keeps running that ball, and you just say, ‘are they ever going to pass?’” Miller said. “And you just know, if you are that team, that you are going to break one. It wears you out, it wears the defense out.” 

“From a basketball perspective, getting the ball to him around the basket, he’ll give himself second chance shots,” Miller said. “It can wear out the other team. He was the difference tonight.”

Utah’s three point shooting

Utah was down 14 at halftime. They shot 3-12 from deep in the first half and couldn’t seem to find the basket. However, Utah started the second half 6-for-6 from deep and it sparked a 9-0 run that brought the Utes back in the game. 

Rawle Alkins did not think it was because of defensive breakdowns or a lack of effort defensively from Arizona.  

“I think they executed well on offense, they made tough shots, especially him, (Sedrick Barefield).” Alkins said. “He made tough contested shots.”

Sedrick Barefield 

Barefield was a big part of the run Utah made in the second half. He went 4-for-4 from three during Utah’s run in the second half and ended the night shooting 6-for-11 from deep. He hit contested shots as well as made a four-point play when he was fouled on a three. The junior guard averages 10.6 points-per-game this season and plays an average 26 minutes per game. Against Arizona he finished with 23 points in 34 minutes.

Allonzo Trier 

Trier did not have his usual 20 point-per-game performance against Utah. Trier had five points at halftime and then added two points in the second half to finish with seven, despite playing 36 minutes. 

In the second half, senior point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright got into foul trouble and since backup point guard Alex Barcello had been struggling, it forced Miller to play Trier at point guard. 

Trier found Keanu Pinder under the rim for a easy bucket late in the second half as Arizona was fending off Utah’s run. He finished the game with five assists and five rebounds. 

“Teams are game planning for him almost every night,” Alkins said. “So when he’s not scoring he’s a decoy, because they still look at him as a threat.”


No. 4 ASU lost at Colorado Thursday for their second loss in the Pac-12. Last week Arizona beat then No. 3 ASU in the McKale Center to start conference play before going on the road to play at Utah and Colorado. The Sun Devils may have just found out how hard it is to be the hunted as opposed to the hunter within the first week of conference play, despite starting the season 12-0.

Arizona plays at Colorado Saturday while ASU plays at Utah Sunday. 

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