Three takeaways from Arizona MBB’s win over Stanford


Ryan Wohl

Arizona men’s basketball forward Cedric Henderson Jr. scores a layup in a game against Stanford University on March 9 at T-Mobile arena. 

Aidan Alperstein

1. Cedric Henderson Jr.‘s efficiency

The senior made his presence known early in the first half.

Henderson opened the evening with a pair of buckets in the lane and was in attack mode ever since. His spark out of the gates was everything the Wildcats needed. Henderson finished with 16 first-half points.

Thursday was bound to be Henderson’s night after a lousy weekend against the Los Angeles schools. He averaged 4.5 points per game in those two meetings.

His dominance on the offensive end led to a season-high 23 points on 8-13 shooting. Tonight was a mandatory confidence booster that will be critical to carry over the next few weeks.

2. Improved shot selection 

Arizona fell in love with the long ball in the lone regular-season meeting between the two schools. The Wildcats could not utilize their frontcourt because of foul trouble and heaved 35 3-point shots.

Head coach Tommy Lloyd mentioned tonight’s goal was to keep that number around 25. Instead, the number ended at 19.

The Wildcats were feasting in the paint, making it imperative to utilize Oumar Ballo and Ažuolas Tubelis, the team’s best offensive weapons. Out of Arizona’s 95 points, 54 came in the paint.

“We play for each other. The guards found Zu [Ažuolas Tubelis] and me pretty well,” Ballo said. “We took good shots, and they fell in.” Tubelis and Ballo combined for 44 points.

3. Perimeter defense 

There is a necessary concern for the Wildcat perimeter defense. Midway through the second half, the Cardinal were shooting 57% as a team, ending at 48% courtesy of a late drought. Nonetheless, the percentage should still impose question marks.

Stanford took advantage of Tubelis on the defensive end. His agility and lateral quickness were exposed as Stanford played inside-out with their shooting-happy rotations. Michael Jones was a difficult matchup for Tubelis when on the floor. The defense has been a concern of late, especially over the past few weeks.

Despite the high-octane offensive numbers, winning tournament games by giving up 80-plus points will decrease the chances of winning. Attacking closeouts with a purpose should be Arizona’s main priority heading into the semi-final round to take on ASU.

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