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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona earns 94-82 road victory over rival ASU

Tom Price

Arizona center Dusan Ristic (14) prepares to dunk for a basket at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe playing against ASU on Sunday, Jan. 3.

In what was a fiery affair come the second half, Arizona men’s basketball knocked off ASU on the road at Wells Fargo Arena 94-82.

Arizona men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller hadn’t previously won in Tempe since 2013 and hadn’t lost a Pac-12 Conference opener since New Year’s Eve of 2009, so one streak had to end come Sunday afternoon.

Senior center Kaleb Tarczewski was active, but had to come off the bench as Miller stuck with Dusan Ristic down in the post to begin the game. Ristic drew first blood on the first possession backing down Eric Jacobsen and the Wildcats followed him scoring on the first four possessions all coming from inside the paint.

ASU would maintain a fast tempo to stay in reaching distance on the scoreboard going into the first timeout break down 10-8.

Just reaching the mid-point in the first half, the Sun Devils caught fire earning the lead and pushing it out 28-19 just under nine minutes left in the half and that’s when Miller burned his first timeout.

Arizona went on a quick run and took back the lead after a Gabe York three-pointer and the Wildcats never looked back, closing out the first half 41-35.

“ASU hit some tough shots and earned their baskets,” Miller said. “We just wanted to play our brand of defense to keep them off the glass and keep staying with it.”

The second half got out to a grudge match in only a matter of 27 seconds after Willie Atwood elbowed Gabe York just below his left eye going after a rebound.

Referees would review the play and Atwood wouldn’t be punished with a flagrant foul. Moments later, Tarczewski received a technical foul for arguing a no-foul call with the referee.

The Wildcats weren’t afraid to pull up from outside, especially from the second half performance displayed from York after he went three for five from behind the arc and concluded the game going four for seven.

“He’s the ultimate testament to what college basketball sports is,” Miller said. “He has earned his stripes. A year ago, he was a huge part of our success and different seat on the bus this year being the senior leader.”

Once Arizona pushed out a comfortable 16 point lead halfway into the second half, their tempo rattled and ASU began to shoot their way, cutting Arizona’s lead to six with just under two minutes left.

ASU’s notoriously famous “Curtain of Distraction” forced the Wildcats to shoot 20-27 in the second half, with York shooting 8-10 from the free throw line.

Arizona finished 75 percent from the line. York would finish the game with 22 points and six assists. Trier would follow him with 20 points and five assists, but it was a much larger weight lifted off of Arizona’s shoulders according to York.

“It was amazing. You know all of the mess that they talk and everything you hear throughout the game especially the last three years, definitely fulfilling to go over there and clap my hands,” York said.

The rivalry emotions kicked in with a minute left in the game when ASU head coach Bobby Hurley received his second technical foul of the game and was ejected from Wells Fargo Arena. As he walked out, he left in a crowd pleasing fashion inciting the crowd to get louder.

From that point on, it was a free throw game and the Wildcats came out on top and begin conference play 1-0.

“The fact that we beat ASU, I think is a testament to our team because ASU has a heck of a basketball team,” Miller said.

Arizona will continue their conference schedule on the road next week in Los Angeles, Calif. with UCLA at 5 pm on Thursday and USC on Saturday at 5 pm.

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