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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 3 Arizona defeats No. 21 Michigan State in the Acrisure Classic

Kohichiro Yamada

Pelle Larsson (3), a guard on the Arizona men’s basketball team, dribbles the ball down the court on Nov. 11, in McKale Center. The Wildcats would the game against Southern University 95-78.

The Arizona men’s basketball team picked up another statement victory over No. 21 Michigan State University, beating the Spartans 74-68 in the Acrisure Classic in Palm Desert on Thursday, Nov. 23. Behind Caleb Love’s 17 points, the Wildcats (6-0) fended off a late second-half rally by the Spartans to remain unbeaten and hand the Spartans their third loss of the season. 

First Half:

The Wildcats jumped out in front early, leading by 14 points early. Through the opening 10 minutes, the Wildcats held the Spartans to only seven points. The Wildcats held steady throughout the first half, with their lead hovering between 7-15 points throughout the final 10 minutes of the half.

Kylan Boswell, 12 points in the first half, led the way for Arizona as the Wildcats led the Spartans 40-30 at the break. Veterans Love and Pelle Larsson made significant contributions in the first half. Larsson had six points, and Love had seven points, including a three-pointer at the buzzer, to give Arizona a 10-point lead to end the half.

Arizona’s strong presence in the paint in the opening half played a crucial factor in their lead over Michigan State. The Wildcats  outscored the Spartans 24-12 in the paint, demonstrating their control and dominance in the paint.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats, who typically outrebounded their opponents by an average of 21 rebounds per game, were tied with the Spartans at 18 each.

Second Half:

After an impressive first half, the Wildcats were far from perfect in the second half. Arizona made several mistakes and struggled with their transition defense, allowing the Spartans to pick away their deficit. 

Four minutes into the second half, the Wildcats led 42-39, as the Spartans, using a 9-2 run, had shifted the momentum into their favor. Still, the Wildcats retained the lead as both teams traded baskets over the next 10 minutes of the half. 

After leading 62-55 with six minutes remaining, the Wildcats were outscored 11-1 over the next three minutes as they soon found themselves trailing for the first time, 66-63. However, the Wildcats, behind Keshad Johnson and Love, combining for six points down the stretch, closed the game on an 11-2 run to beat the Spartans 74-68 and move to 6-0 on the season.

The Wildcats had five players reach double figures.The former University of North Carolina Tar Heel, Love, led the team with 17 points and four assists. Johnson had a fantastic game, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, marking his first double-double of the season. Boswell contributed 12 points to the scoreboard, while Omuar Ballo and Larsson both added 10 points each. The Wildcats’ balanced scoring attack ensured their victory and showcased their depth and talent.

Looking Ahead:

The Wildcats will receive well-earned rest before they host Colgate University on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m.

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