Berkeley, CA – It took No. 14 Arizona (15-4) ten minutes to take control of the game, but after a sluggish first ten minutes they proceeded to coast by Cal (7-12) to a 79-58 victory on the road. The Wildcats won despite 21 turnovers and only six made free throws to Cal’s 21.
The difference came in shooting efficiency, as Arizona shot 62 percent from the field and 58 percent from three, whereas Cal shot 35.3 percent from the field and a very poor 7.7 percent (1-of-13) from three.
Arizona’s big man, Deandre Ayton was particularly efficient, hitting 9-of-11 shots on his way to a seemingly easy 21 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes. In the first half, he was used as the high nail man against Cal’s zone and carved them up for turnaround jumpers, dives to the rim, and lobs. In the second half, Cal went to man and Ayton showed off his post up and passing game.
With a lot of attention on Ayton, Arizona’s perimeter players had great looks all night long. Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dylan Smith each had 14 points and made four three’s each. Allonzo Trier scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half – while his three-ball wasn’t falling, he impacted the game with his interior scoring and distributing. Arizona sophomore Rawle Alkins did not play tonight, sitting out with foot soreness.
Cal was lead by freshman, Justice Sueing, who scored 19 points and got to the line 14 times. Cal picked up the defensive intensity in spurts in the second half, but ultimately didn’t have the offensive firepower or teamwork to keep up, as they seem to be the worst team in the Pac-12.
Arizona travels to Palo Alto Saturday to play a surging Stanford team on a five-game win streak in Pac-12 play.
Ayton was very comfortable shooting out of the high post in the middle of the zone, as he hit two consecutive turnaround jumpers in the first half that made Cal switch their coverage. He didn’t attempt a 3 tonight, but he has shown the range to knock that down. He benefitted from a couple Sean Miller drawn lob plays and showed the athleticism to catch and finish above the rim. In the second half, Cal stunted two or three guys at him, making it very hard to do anything other than pass. While the first pass he threw out of the post was lazy and a turnover, he improved his passing focus later in the game, including an impressive cross-court pass for a 3. He showed his post game in the second half, which needs work, but still is dominant in the college game. He bullied 7-foot Okoroh for a layup and then showed off a nice sweep and spin move vs. Lee. Every move ended with his right hand. He did miss an easy drop off pass, so some more scrutiny into how his hands are is needed. Defensively, he’s pretty quick coming up to hedge high and anticipate ball-screens. He does a good job at not falling for pump fakes and staying down, waiting for his man to leave ground.
Trier showed ability to shoot off balance and shoot with range. He’s a quality shot finisher who can score in a variety of ways. He has yet to prove whether he can be a great shot creator. He’s a smart player who plays in control and has a good handle. He’s athletic, but doesn’t have elite explosiveness to separate from defenders, and I’m not sure that his interior finishing will translate to next level.
This article was written by Will Winston, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter. We are looking for those interested in our basketball scout certification program. For information contact us and forward your resume.