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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Allonzo Trier keeps shooting his shot, sparks Arizona to the Sweet Sixteen

Simon Asher
Arizona’s Allonzo Trier (35) makes a shot as he falls backwards during the Arizona-Saint Mary’s game on Saturday, March 18.

SALT LAKE CITY—Allonzo Trier may have had his worst half of this season, and at the worst possible time. The Wildcats’ leading scorer was held scoreless in the first half against Saint Mary’s College on Saturday night. 

The sophomore went 0-4 in the first half, and it was a big reason the Wildcats struggled offensively in the first. After winning the Most Outstanding Player award in the Pac-12 Tournament, Trier struggled from the field against North Dakota on Thursday and it carried over to Saturday.

Trier scored 18 points on 4-for-11 shooting against North Dakota but went 9-for-10 from the free throw line. He couldn’t manage to get to the stripe one time in the first half against the Gaels.

With Trier struggling, Rawle Alkins has been someone the Wildcats can count on to make big plays. But he fractured the index finger on his shooting hand in the first half and the Wildcats seemed lost on the offensive end.

“I think midway through the first half, especially when Rawle got injured, we lost our confidence for a little bit; we really did,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. “I think Allonzo, he wanted to play well so bad that today, and this really isn’t his makeup, but today he didn’t have the confidence that he usually has, and a couple of things went bad.” 

But as any elite scorer does, Trier just kept shooting his shot in the second half.

He stepped up when the Wildcats needed him the most, dropping 14 points in the second half and went 5-for-6 from the free throw line. He has become Arizona’s go-to free throw shooter in the clutch, and he hit three free throws in the final two minutes to help seal Arizona’s spot in the Sweet Sixteen.

“No game is going to be easy; it’s not going to be exactly how you want it,” Trier said “If we stick to doing the things that we’re supposed to do and let that carry over, we believe that more times than not we’ll come out on top.”

Trier said from an outside perspective, watching someone go 0-4 makes people assume “he’s forcing, he’s off his game,” but that it happens to anybody.

“I know that if my number is called in the second half I have to be able to answer the bell,” Trier said.

Answer the bell he did. Trier scored all four of his second-half field goals on jumpers and created plays in the paint for himself. Trier, along with the entire Wildcats team, was able to get to the paint in the second half, and it helped get the Gaels into foul trouble.

“Whether it be Rawle [Alkins], Kadeem [Allen], Allonzo—I think those guys really got fouled and delivered on those drives,” Miller said.

As Arizona looks forward to No. 11-seed Xavier next Thursday, Trier will be as important as ever. Their streak of hot offensive play in the second half continued tonight as a direct result of Trier’s big half.

In Trier’s mind, Arizona just needs to keep battling to move on in the tournament.

“We stick to doing what we do and we grind it out. That’s what makes us a great team, a great program,” Trier said.

Follow Christopher Deak on Twitter.

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