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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona wins 20th game

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Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat

It didn’t start out pretty, but in the end, the Arizona men’s basketball team was able to secure its 20th win of the season.

“It hasn’t been an easy road to get to 20,” head coach Sean Miler said. “We’ve been a real resilient team. We’re playing our best basketball in the month of February.”

In a season marked by a “do or die” attitude, Arizona (20-9, 11-5 Pac-12) wrapped up a season sweep over the lowly USC Trojans (6-22, 1-14), defeating them 70-54 on Thursday night in McKale Center.

“It’s a matter of figuring how to win and moving on to the next one,” Miller said.

Several of the Wildcats’ usual contributors struggled, but not freshman Josiah Turner or senior Kyle Fogg. Turner had a career night with a season-high 15 points. The freshman also had one of his best nights handling the basketball, registering six assists against zero turnovers in 31 minutes. Turner said his aggressiveness came about thanks to being spurred along by junior forward Solomon Hill.

“He kind of got at me about being more aggressive so I thought I’d come out and try it,” Turner said.

Fogg led the way for Arizona with another double-double, registering 16 points and 12 rebounds, eleven of which were defensive. Fogg’s rebounding has picked up in the last three games, something he challenged himself to do.

“I’ve been trying to help them out a little bit on the glass,” Fogg said. “Ever since last week I’ve been trying to put more pressure on myself to box out and get rebounds on the defensive end.”

Fogg and Turner both shot 50 percent from the field and the Wildcats shot 46 percent from the field as a team.

Arizona started out the game woefully and trailed the Trojans by as many as eight points early on, but picked up the pace by the end of the first half. The Wildcats went into halftime on a 12-0 run, sparked by a Fogg 3-pointer.

During that stretch, Arizona held the Trojans scoreless for the last eight minutes of the half. USC attempted nine shots during that time period.

“We kind of came out sluggish on defense,” Fogg said. “I think guys’ ball pressure picked up. We were helping each other out. It was easier to stop the shot.”

Sophomore guard Jordin Mayes saw action for the first time since the Wildcats defeated California three weeks ago and even recorded a basket. Miller said he would plan to use Mayes on Saturday, but that Mayes’ main contribution would be against ASU on March 4.

Up next

Arizona takes on the UCLA Bruins in the last home game of the season at noon on Saturday. Miller said winning the game was crucial to securing a top-four seed for the Pac-12 Tournament in Los Angeles.

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