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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Fair or not, Wildcats hopes and dreams may rest on shoulders of Allonzo Trier

Rebecca Noble
Arizona guard Allonzo Trier (35) goes up for a shot during Arizona’s 79-62 win against Washington State in McKale Center on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017.

Allonzo Trier entered the game with 15:19 left in the first half to a standing ovation by the McKale Center faithful during Arizona’s 79-62 win Thursday against Washington State. It had been 326 days since Trier played in front of his home crowd, and for a large portion of the night, it seemed like it.

Moving around the court with trepidation, Trier seemed like he was trying to find his way within a Wildcats team that had gone 17-2 without him.

Balancing the fine line of teamwork and use of one’s own skills can be a very difficult task, but as Trier worked his way into the game, you could see him starting to figure it out.

“It was a great feeling,” Trier said. “It felt like it was an eternity for how long I haven’t played in there [McKale]. I was really excited; the energy was great and my teammates were really excited, they were happy for me.”

In many ways, Trier’s return to the lineup was symbolized by the Wildcats play on the court against the Cougars. Arizona had flashes of brilliance, much like Trier when hitting his first shot attempt from 3-point range.

The crowd blew up in excitement. The moment they had waited for had finally come the previous Saturday against UCLA, but they were able to see Trier in person and welcome him themselves on Thursday.

The rest of the half didn’t go as scripted as Trier struggled to find his way and finished with six points on two-for-five shooting and one-for-four from beyond the arc.

He’d been through a lot the past several months, warranted or not, and was finally able to let his play do the talking, except it wasn’t translating the way he wanted.

“It was tough,” Trier said. “I love the game of basketball, so i stayed around the game as much as I could. I was always in the gym. I was practicing with my teammates every day. I tried to make an impact in any way that I could.”

As Trier struggled, so did the Wildcats. The Cougars managed to tie the game just two minutes into the second half and battled Arizona to the eight minute mark. Adversity had hit him and his team once again, but this time was different.

The game was in the balance, but Trier’s biggest contribution didn’t come in the form of his own play; it was evident that his effect was in stamina to his teammates. The Wildcats surged down the stretch, extending a 3-point lead with eight minutes left to an 18-point lead with three minutes left, capped off by a Trier 3-pointer that sent the fans home happy.

“Just like our team, every game that goes by in the next couple weeks you’ll eventually settle in,” said Arizona head coach Sean Miller. “That’s where we are right now. We’re in that settling in process. Again, [Trier] played a very good game tonight.”

For Wildcats fans, the sight of the team surging toward the finish line, as opposed to collapsing at it, was welcomed.

Moving forward, there are a lot of moving pieces Miller will have to organize, but with five of the top eight teams in the country already losing this week, the positioning is there for the taking if the Wildcats want to grab it.

Much is on the line the next couple of weeks, and a lot of it could depend on the play of Trier—warranted or not.

Follow Saul Bookman on Twitter.

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