The Arizona Wildcats came into Saturday’s bout with #3 UCLA with a 17-2 record and a resume that featured wins over Michigan State, Utah and Colorado. They added a marquee win after beating the Bruins 96-85.
Here are five things we learned from that victory:
1) Guess Who’s Back: It was much anticipated for the sophomore guard to return to the lineup. For months, speculation was made, but there was no confirmation of why guard Allonzo Trier, last year’s leading scorer, wasn’t playing with the team. On Wednesday, the guard released a statement saying he had tested positive for trace amounts of a performance enhancing drug unknowingly. Friday, the Wildcats got word he was cleared to play, and Trier came out guns a blazing, scoring 12 with seven rebounds and four assists. What doesn’t show up on the box score might be the most telling, though:
You can see how jacked up everyone is by having him back. Zona is Final Four good. https://t.co/mksx7KOW2H
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) January 21, 2017
2) Sharing is Caring: It wasn’t just Trier, either. Six players were in double figures for the Wildcats, with Lauri Markkanen leading the way with 19 points and Kobi Simmons with 18. The Wildcats flexed their muscle and showed just how many scoring options they have.
3) Lonzo Ball(er): There is a reason the Bruins are the #3 team in the country, and leading the way all year has been freshman phenom Lonzo Ball, who had 22 points on 9-14 shooting, six rebounds and eight assists. The UCLA playmaker is regarded as one of the top draft prospects in college this year, and proved that on Saturday.
4) Stat-Fillers: The Cats had contributions all around in their victory, with five players with at least five rebounds, and Simmons, Trier and Park Jackson-Cartwright combined for 13 assists. While Sean Miller’s squad have defined roles, they are all versatile enough to help in multiple aspects of the game.
📺: CBS https://t.co/DbP7VMfYH4
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) January 21, 2017
5) Home Sweet Home: The Wildcat faithful had a, well, strong reaction on social media for Trier’s return. One can only imagine the atmosphere at the McKale Center on Thursday when the Wildcats host the Washington State Cougars.
There were plays being made on both sides by two of the best programs in the country, and they will face off in Tucson on February 25th. While we’re at it, why don’t we have them square off in the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas this March?
That good with everyone?