Monday, 20 August, 2018

Ayton's best scoring performance moves UA into Pac-12 tourney title game

Ethan Miller Ethan Miller
Gerardo Duncan | 12 March, 2018, 11:13

It took overtime for the Wildcats to hold on to their ticket to the conference championship, taking down UCLA 78-67. This will be the sixth time the Wildcats head to the Pac-12 Tournament Championship game under Coach Sean Miller.

Jackson-Cartwright has risen his game to another level of late, responding to the challenge of playing All-Pac-12 Freshman Team guard McKinley Wright of Colorado and Holiday.

The Cardinal, coming off a rout of Cal in the first-round, overcame a slow start to briefly catch the Bruins, but UCLA pulled away in the second half to hand the Cardinal a 88-77 loss in the quarterfinals on Thursday. That's just not right.

"Our fans, they're the best; one of the best in all of the country", Miller said. But I don't want to get these guys' hopes up.

Stat of the game: The Wildcats outrebounded USC 42-19.

The Wildcats would end up handling that "moment" very well.

"He went off tonight", Rakocevic said a day later, "but you have to give us credit". Only a total of eight fouls were called in the first half. This will be the tenth head-to-head matchup between the two programs in Pac-12 Conference Tournament history.

USC and Arizona stayed locked in a tight contest as the Trojans took a 33-30 lead into the break.

Thomas Welsh was a big factor in the first half for the Bruins.

The Bruins shot 44.9 percent from the field and made 12 of 27 3-point attempts. Welsh and the rest of Bruins limited the Wildcats to zero offensive rebounds in the first half.

The Wildcats rank fifth in rebounds allowed per game (29.2) while the Bruins rank 202nd (36.2). USC took better care of the ball and ended the half with only four turnovers.

Ayton recorded 32 points (13-16 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 5-6 FT), 14 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in 40 minutes during Friday's overtime victory over UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament.

Additionally, if you want to watch a replay of any game, DVR can be added when signing up for your free trial. Rakocevic failed to score in the second half, while Mathews lost the shooting touch that had proved so crucial throughout the conference tournament. The freshman scored seven of the team's 11 points in overtime to help lift UA to Saturday night's title game against USC. He scored the Wildcats seven of 11 points in extra minutes and was the reason why the Wildcats won.

Rawle Alkins brought the pro-Arizona crowd to a roar with a two-handed dunk over Elijah Stewart and Ayton followed with another dunk to make it even louder, putting Arizona up 53-46.

Colorado was 17 of 31 (.548) from 3-point range in the first three halves of the Pac-12 Tournament but made just 1 of 10 over the final 20 minutes against Arizona.

Holiday is on track to become the seventh Pac-12 player to average at least 20 points and five assists in a season. Cartwright had 11 points and four assists.

Arizona, which boasts future National Basketball Association talent in potential No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton, Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins, are efficient offensively (15th in the nation in Ken Pomeroy's rankings) but struggle defensively (90th in Pomeroy's rankings). Questions about the FBI's investigation into college basketball (and their program specifically) have dogged this team for months.

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