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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 5 Arizona MBB runs ASU out of town with a record-setting 45-point victory

Kylan+Boswell+runs+through+contact+towards+the+basket+against+ASU+in+McKale+Center+on+Feb+17.+Arizona+managed+to+put+up+over+100+points+in+their+home+rivalry+game.%0A
Mason Kumet
Kylan Boswell runs through contact towards the basket against ASU in McKale Center on Feb 17. Arizona managed to put up over 100 points in their home rivalry game.

The No. 5 Arizona men’s basketball team pummeled its in-state rival Arizona State University, 105-60, in front of a sold-out McKale Center on Saturday, Feb. 17. The Wildcats’ (20-5, 11-3 in Pac-12) 45-point victory is the largest over ASU in program history. The Wildcats are peaking at the right time, winning six straight games.

“I would like to say to my teammates, everybody made a great contribution to today’s game. [Jaden Bradley] had a career-high, Paulius [Murauskas] had a career-high,Keshad Johnson said. “That shows you as we came into this game, really, everybody came into the game ready […]. We do this for Tucson.”

First Half:

The Wildcats jumped on the board just seconds after tip-off when Kylan Boswell found Oumar Ballo for the jam. However, the Sun Devils scored on their first four possessions, jumping out to an early 9-4 lead.

The opening 10 minutes of the first half were back-and-forth as both teams found success from the field. By the first half’s midway point, both teams were shooting over 60% from the field. Arizona led 26-24 and was 11-18 (61%) from the field, while ASU was 9-15 (60%).

After a back-and-forth opening 10 minutes, the Wildcats began to separate themselves from the Sun Devils. With a little over two minutes remaining in the first half, Arizona led 43-31, having converted on 10 of their previous 12 shots from the field. On the other side, the Sun Devils were ice cold, missing eight of their final nine shots from the field.

At halftime, Arizona led ASU 49-31. The Wildcats shot an impressive 68% (21-31) from the field, while the Sun Devils shot only 40% (12-30). Arizona dominated the paint in the first half, outscoring ASU by 20 points with a margin of 30-10.

In terms of individual performances, Caleb Love led the way for Arizona with 12 points, while Ballo had an impressive 9 points and nine rebounds. Bradley and Boswell also contributed 8 points to the team’s success.

“Being the head coach at Arizona is an incredible honor,” Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd said. “I love it here. I know this program [has] definitely added a lot of value for me and my life.”

Second Half:

The Wildcats continued to dominate both ends of the court as they started the second half. Within the first three minutes of the half, Arizona had already increased its lead to 21, leaving the Sun Devils struggling to find an answer to the Wildcats’ aggressive offense and penetrating defense.

As the second half progressed, Arizona’s performance was nothing short of impressive. The Wildcats’ lead over ASU continued to grow steadily and by the midway point they had extended their lead to 25 points, leading 73-48. The Wildcats seemed determined to assert dominance over their in-state rivals as they executed flawlessly and scored points effortlessly.

Arizona outscored the Sun Devils 56-29 in the second half en route to a dominant 105-60 victory. Arizona’s 45-point win was the largest in program history over ASU and the Wildcats’ second-largest victory margin of the season.

“When we share the ball, we don’t have to rely on one guy to do a lot of heavy lifting,” Lloyd said. “We really encourage our guys to maybe turn down some hard plays and see if we [can] find some easier plays.”

The Wildcats were 36-63 (57%) from the field, while ASU was 21-58 (36%), and the Wildcats outscored the Sun Devils 52-16 in the paint. Arizona dominated ASU in several categories, including assists 21-9, bench points 45-10, fast break points 26-9 and rebounds 46-28.

Bradley led the Wildcats, scoring a career-high 21 points and dishing five assists. Bradley was an efficient 8-11 from the field and 4-4 from the charity stripe. Both Love and Ballo finished with 15 points, while Ballo collected an additional 11 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double.

Johnson added 14 points, 9 of which came in the second half, and Murauskas scored a season-high 12 points, all of which came in the second half.

“We do it for the whole state, but Tucson, the love that was in there with the student section all the way onto our 40-year season ticket holders,” Johnson said. “We felt that energy today and we know we will feel that energy when we go over there to their crib.”

Looking ahead:

The Wildcats remain home when they host Washington State University on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 9 p.m. and the University of Washington on Saturday, Feb. 24 at noon.


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