Instant Analysis: Arizona pulls away from Beavers in 89-63 win
Arizona turned a 10-point halftime advantage into a decisive 89-63 win in a game defined by technical fouls and turnovers. Tres Tinkle, who leads Oregon State in scoring this season, received his second technical of the game with just over 13 minutes remaining and Arizona leading 52-40. Tinkle’s ejection opened the flood gates as the Wildcats quickly built a 22-point advantage with 10 minutes to play. For the game, the Beavers were truly done in by 21 turnovers that helped Arizona gain a 26-9 edge in points off of turnovers.
Arizona jumped out to an early 12-2 lead and maintained its 10-point advantage through halftime. The Beavers were able to match Arizona in shooting and rebounds the entire game, but committed 21 turnovers, were whistled for three technical fouls, had their best player get ejected, and saw few others truly step up to keep pace with the Wildcats.
Arizona (19-7, 9-4 Pac-12) finally rediscovered its range from behind the 3-Point arc, knocking down 10-of-21 attempts from deep for the game and an efficient 7-for-13 in the second half. Max Hazzard contributed to the effort by knocking down three treys to finish with 15 points, four rebounds and two assists. Nico Mannion made 2-of-5 attempts from behind the arc in route to scoring 16 points and dishing out six assists, while Josh Green led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
OSU (15-11, 5-9 Pac-12) never really got into a rhythm against the Wildcats.
Tinkle was just 3-for-11 shooting before his ejection following an elbow to the face of Arizona’s Jemarl Baker. Fellow big man Kylor Kelley did finish with 14 points, but only had four points at the break. Ethan Thompson, who scored 18 points in OSU’s upset win over Arizona back in January, only had 11 points. The senior did have seven assists, but also committed seven turnovers. A key was Mannion’s harassing defense that kept Thompson out of the paint and off balance the majority of the night.
Following Tinkle’s ejection, Arizona used a 12-2 scoring run to build a 22 point lead that would never go away. Despite shooting 45.8 percent from the floor in the second half, the Beavers only made 3-of-12 3-Point attempts after intermission. Meanwhile, Arizona produced 10 second half assists on 15 made field goals to shoot an efficient 51.7 percent from the floor in the final frame.
Arizona’s Josh Green added a career-high six assists to his 18 points and four rebounds. Defensively, Green was part of Tinkle’s shooting frustrations, along with teammate Dylan Smith.
Max Hazzard scored 15 points off the bench and pulled down four rebounds. Freshman center Christian Koloko was equally impressive as a reserve, giving the Wildcats some much needed depth and toughness around the basket. Koloko only scored five points, but added three blocked shots and a steal. The always steady Zeke Nnaji contributed 13 points and seven rebounds, while Stone Gettings added nine points and five rebounds.
How Arizona Won?
Arizona won because they forced turnovers and produced points off of those turnovers. The Wildcats had a 26-9 scoring advantage off of 21 OSU turnovers. The Wildcats only committed 10. A second reason for Arizona’s success was its ability to get into its offense, quickly. Unlike in Corvallis where the Beavers dominated the Wildcats in the second half, Thursday in Tucson saw Arizona push the ball in transition and regardless of scoring or not scoring on the fast break, quickly entered their secondary offense and got great looks at the basket. On multiple occasions, rather than reset the offense against an already recovered Beavers defense, the Wildcats would swing the ball to the wing and get a quick and timely entry pass into the low block. The effective ball movement allowed Arizona to play inside-out basketball that either resulted in a good shot attempt around the painted area or an open look from behind the 3-Point line.
It’s almost inevitable Arizona is going to win when Max Hazzard or Jemarl Baker or Dylan Smith get hot from the floor. Tonight was Hazzard’s turn. The senior transfer not only made 3-of-6 attempts from deep, he was a factor on the defensive glass, produced a steal, and played menacing defense on OSU’s scoring guards. In short, Hazzard maximized his 19 minutes of action.
Similarly, Christian Koloko provided Arizona with meaningful minutes off the bench. All three of his blocked shots were impressive and athletic. His ability to force scorers into tough shots in and around the paint is something Arizona greatly needs, particularly from a role player.
Player of the Game
Arizona’s Josh Green deserves the nod. There was a time in Pac-12 play when Green only scored in double figures one time during a six game stretch. In his last five games, Green has scored in double digits four times to give the Wildcats some much-needed scoring punch from the wing.
Stat of the Game
It’s difficult to overlook OSU’s 21 turnovers. The Wildcats made the Beavers pay for their turnovers all game long. Arizona also outscored OSU on the break 28-12, something they HAD to do to win on Thursday. What’s perplexing is OSU nearly matched Arizona in every other statistic, which is odd in a 26-point blowout. Arizona only won the rebounding edge 35-33. The Wildcats held a four-point advantage on points in the paint. Similarly, the Wildcats only outscored OSU 28-22 off the bench. Both teams shot around 42 percent from the field, but OSU was only 6-for-22 from behind the arc while the Wildcats went 10-for-21. Each team shot better than 80 percent from the free throw line, with Arizona nearly doubling OSU in attempts and gaining a 10-point scoring advantage from the charity stripe.
Arizona hosts Oregon on Saturday, February 22. Tip time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on ESPN.