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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 6 Arizona MBB celebrates Senior Day with blowout win over Oregon

Grant+Weitman+walks+back+to+the+bench+in+the+final+minutes+of+the+second+half+of+Arizona%E2%80%99s+game+against+Oregon.+Weitman+was+one+of+the+seniors+honored+during+the+game+and+finished+the+game+with+21+points.
Jay Corella
Grant Weitman walks back to the bench in the final minutes of the second half of Arizona’s game against Oregon. Weitman was one of the seniors honored during the game and finished the game with 21 points.

The No. 6 Arizona men’s basketball team wrapped up Senior Day with a dominant 103-83 victory over the University of Oregon on Saturday, March 2, in McKale Center. The Wildcats’ (23-6, 14-4 in Pac-12) five seniors, Oumar Ballo, Caleb Love, Pelle Larsson, Keshad Johnson and Grant Weitman combined for 76 of the Wildcats’ 103 points. With their win, Arizona wrapped up its 2023-2024 season in McKale with a home record of 15-1.

“You cherish these moments. You cherish these experiences. They call it ‘McKale magic’ for a reason,” said Love. “I just want to thank the fans and thank them for everything they brought to the table as far as their energy and their passion for the game.”

First half:

The Wildcats, led by their all-senior starting lineup — Ballo, Love, Larsson, Johnson and Weitman, jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Weitman, making his first career start, played only 5 minutes but made his presence felt on the court, snatching a team-high two steals.

“I’m just thinking about not doing anything too special, just playing within the system,” said Weitman. “It was an honor to start. I thank Tommy [Lloyd].”

By the first media timeout, the Wildcats and the Ducks were knotted up at 7-7. However, Arizona, utilizing a 22-5 run over the ensuing 5 minutes, pushed its lead to double-digits by the midway mark of the first half, leading 29-12. The Wildcats were shooting a blistering 11-16 (69%) from the floor and 4-5 (80%) from beyond the arc.

Arizona continued to shoot the lights out, pushing its lead to 23 points, leading 48-25 late in the first half. Kylan Boswell, coming off his stellar 17-point performance against ASU on Wednesday, Feb. 28 was in the zone early on. Boswell closed the first half with a career-high 19 points, shooting an electric 7-8 from the field and 5-6 from deep.

At the break, the Wildcats led the Ducks 51-30. Arizona shot 20-31 (65%) from the field and 8-11 (73%) from deep, while Oregon was 13-34 (38%) and 4-14 (29%) from deep. Additionally, the Wildcats outscored the Ducks in several other categories, including assists (14-6), fast-break points (19-2) and bench points (25-0).

Boswell led the way for Arizona with 19 points, followed by Love with 12 points, along with five assists. Meanwhile, seniors Johnson (7), Ballo (4) and Larsson (3) combined for only 14 points in the first half.

“It’s emotional because after three years at Arizona now, you take a look at it; this might be the last time you play for the crowd,” Ballo said. “You know, you feel like, ‘Oh man, I’m gonna miss this thing.’”

Second half:

Throughout the opening 10 minutes of the second half, both the Wildcats and the Ducks shot the ball well. By the midway mark of the second half, Arizona led 73-58. However, Oregon, which seemed unable to get any shots to fall in the first half, shot 12-16 (75%) from the field, compared to Arizona, which still shot an impressive 8-14 (57%).

The Wildcats exploded late in the second, going 9-10 from the field following the midway point of the half. Arizona’s lead pushed to 27 points, as they led 102-75. After a quiet first half, seniors Larsson (19), Johnson (14) and Ballo (7) dominated the scoring column, combining for 40 points while shooting a combined 15-18 from the field. Fellow senior Love added 10 points as the Wildcats’ seniors combined for 50 of Arizona’s 52 second-half points.

“I’ve had the time of my life here at Arizona and with these people,” said Larsson. “I just want[ed] to do something special for them and for the people that support us.”

The Wildcats shot 39-64 (61%) from the field and 14-25 (56%) from beyond the arc, while the Ducks shot 35-67 (52%) and 6-20 (30%) from deep. Arizona outrebounded Oregon 35-27 and outscored the Ducks 48-40 in the paint.

The Wildcats had five players reach double figures. Love and Larsson led the way in scoring for Arizona. Love finished with 22 points and seven assists, while Larsson also had 22 points and dished out six assists. Meanwhile, Johnson and Boswell each added 19 points, while Ballo scored 11 points and hauled 12 rebounds, recording his ninth straight double-double, one-shy of Al Fleming’s record of 10 straight.

“I’m glad that I finished my college career,” said Johnson.

Looking ahead:

The Wildcats head to the Los Angeles area to wrap up the regular season by playing UCLA on Thursday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m. and USC on Saturday, March 9, at 8 p.m.


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