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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 6 Arizona MBB heads on the road to take on Sun Devils

Mason Kumet
Oumar Ballo celebrates after a dunk on the very first play of Arizona’s rivalry game against Arizona State in McKale Center on Feb 17. Ballo led the game in rebounds with a game high of 11.

The No. 6 Arizona men’s basketball team is headed on the road this week to take on its in-state rivals ASU on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. in Desert Financial Arena. The Wildcats (21-6, 12-4 in Pac-12) are coming off a victory against the University of Washington where Arizona showed off a dominant performance, securing the 91-75 victory on Feb. 24. Arizona looks to remain in the win column and mark another win in the history of meetings against the Sun Devils.

History vs. ASU

The Wildcats’ most recent matchup against the Sun Devils was on Feb. 17, with Arizona winning 105-60. The 45-point victory is highlighted as the largest deficit ASU has faced when meeting against Arizona throughout the history of the two programs. Wednesday will be the 246th meeting against Arizona and ASU as the rivalry originated back in 1913 when Arizona won 41-17. Throughout the years, Arizona has continued to build on the 158-87 series lead against the Sun Devils.

ASU players to watch

The Sun Devils are led by head coach Bobby Hurley, who is in his ninth season leading the team. Hurley signed a contract extension in 2023 with ASU, extending him through the 2025-26 season as head coach. ASU is notably 10-4 when at home but has so far collected a 14-14 season record. ASU is coming off a victory against Washington State University where four Sun Devils scored in double-digits while ending the eight-game winning streak the Cougars were on.

Frankie Collins is a junior guard for the Sun Devils who also leads the team in scoring, averaging 13.8 points per game. Collins scored 21 points and eight rebounds along with three steals in a recent loss against Washington. The guard has yet to improve on turnovers, as Collins has averaged 3.2 turnovers in his last five games but makes up for it in steals as he leads the team with 2.8 steals per game. The guard additionally leads the team in assists, averaging 3.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Adam Miller played a crucial role in the victory against Washington State as the guard made plays late in the game that capitalized on him going 5-8 on his 12 points of the night, with eight of them being in the second half. Miller recorded 16 points and two steals when meeting against Arizona on Feb. 17, as the Louisiana State University transfer led the Sun Devils in scoring that night. The guard is the team’s third leading scorer, averaging 11.8 ppg, 1.6 assists and 2.9 rebounds.

Jose Perez is another Sun Devil to look out for as he has averaged 16.4 points in his last five games ASU has had. Perez is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 13.1 ppg. The guard led ASU in the victory over Washington State, scoring 16 points, four assists and six rebounds. Perez is also the team’s second leader in assists, averaging 2.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game.

Arizona players to watch

Caleb Love has continued to build on his consistency as he improves his scoring average to 19.4 ppg, remaining the leading scorer for the Wildcats. Love scored 55 combined points over the weekend of matchups against Washington State and Washington. Love added seven rebounds and five assists on top of two steals the night against Washington while reaching 2,000 career points. The guard currently averages 3.3 assists and five rebounds next to his 1.2 steals he manages to grab a game.

Oumar Ballo has grown his free throw percentage to 50% while also successfully leading the Wildcats in field goal percentage, averaging 62% on shots taken. Ballo marked his seventh straight double-double against Washington, scoring 14 points and 14 rebounds. Ballo leads the team in rebounding, improving his average to 10 rebounds per game as the seven-foot center, is Arizona’s second-leading scorer, and also averages a double-double stat line consisting of 13.2 ppg, 10 rebounds and one assist.

Keshad Johnson had a strong impact on both Washington State and Washington as the San-Diego State University transfer averaged 28 points and 2.5 steals over the two-game span. Johnson is the team’s second rebounding leader, averaging 5.9 rebounds per game. Alongside his rebounds, the forward averages 11.6 ppg and 1.7 assists.

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