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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 1 Arizona MBB dominates against No. 23 Wisconsin

Mason Kumet
McKale Center prepares for the final home game of the semester against Wisconsin on Dec. 9. This marks the first game of the season ESPN visits Tucson for a Wildcats game.

The No. 1 Arizona men’s basketball team faced off against No. 23 University of Wisconsin on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 1:15 p.m. in the McKale Center. The Wildcats (7-0) entered the game following an 82-55 victory over Colgate University on Saturday, Dec. 9. Arizona secured a 98-73 win against the Badgers, advancing to an 8-0 record for the season and marking their first victory as the top-ranked team in the country.

Keshad Johnson saves the ball from going out over a defender in the opening play of Arizona’s home game against Wisconsin on Dec. 9. Keshad is playing his first season at Arizona after transferring from San Diego State.
(Mason Kumet)

First Half

Wisconsin’s junior, Steven Crowl, started the scoring, but was answered swiftly by Arizona forward Keshad Johnson. Then Pelle Larsson electrified the crowd with a three-pointer, and shortly thereafter, Johnson scored in the paint, giving Arizona an 8-2 lead. Larsson extended the lead with his second three-pointer. AJ Storr led the Badgers in the first half with eight points, impacting the game as the score tied 11-11 after his made three-pointer.

The lead fluctuated as the Badgers responded to Arizona’s early shots in the first quarter. After Wisconsin’s forward, Carter Gilmore, scored to level the game, Jaden Bradley put Arizona ahead by three points, 26-23. Approaching the final five minutes of the first half, Larsson sank yet another three-pointer. Love followed with a fast break dunk, contributing to a 10-0 run, and Arizona extended its lead to 41-25. With a 16-point lead, Wisconsin’s Max Klesmit broke the scoring drought with a three-pointer before the half. Arizona concluded the first half with a 48-31 lead, with guards Love and Larsson both leading with 11 points.

Arizona’s Zona Zoo gets loud during Wisconsin’s free throws in the second half in McKale Center on Dec. 9. Wisconsin only shot eight free throws during the game, making five of them.
(Mason Kumet)

Second Half

Arizona maintained control in the second half, with Love quickly scoring a layup. Crowl scored back-to-back field goals for the Badgers, attempting to close the gap to 50-35. Johnson unexpectedly dunked the ball off free throws made by Oumar Ballo and Larsson, securing Arizona’s largest lead of 22 points. Arizona continued to penetrate Wisconsin’s defense, preventing any comeback attempts. Although Wisconsin made shots in the second half, they couldn’t narrow the lead Arizona had established.

Wisconsin’s forward, Tyler Wahl, fouled out of the game with eight points. Crowl was second on the team in scoring with 11 points, followed closely by Storr with 10 and John Blackwell led the Badgers in scoring with 17 points. All five of Arizona’s starters reached double digits, showcasing the team’s unselfishness in ball distribution. Larsson led the Wildcats with 21 points, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 in field goals and 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Love followed with 20 points, Ballo with 15 and Johnson with 11, with both Ballo and Johnson securing nine rebounds each. Arizona sealed the victory with a final score of 98-73 against Wisconsin.

Head coach Tommy Lloyd was asked about the conversations had with the team when playing for Arizona.

“There’s a lot of conversations […]. We need to be a team that enjoys your teammates’ successes as much or more than your own, and so, we want to be a team that shares the ball, and I told our guys today, ‘I don’t need any heroes, I don’t need anybody to stand out above anybody else.’”

Caleb Love completes his post game interview with ESPN after beating Wisconsin in McKale Center on Dec. 9. Arizona finished the game with only seven turnovers against Wisconsin.
(Mason Kumet)

Looking ahead

Arizona is set to face No. 2 Purdue University next on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 2:30 p.m. in Indianapolis. The Wildcats aim to build on their winning streak against the Boilermakers, solidifying their ranking in the upcoming matchup.

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