Tucson, AZ – The Arizona Wildcats (13-4) took on the Oregon Ducks (12-5) in a much anticipated match-up. These two teams have had some great games over the last few years. The Ducks aren’t as talented as they were last year, but still have some special players in Payton Pritchard, Troy Brown, and Elijah Brown. Oregon came out with an early lead of 7-2 a few minutes into the game. Arizona immediately answered with a 19-2 run that would put them up 21-9. Arizona played sloppy towards the end of the first half and allowed Oregon to cut the lead to 3, 41-38. The second half went back and forth for most of the way. Oregon was up by four points with 5:40 remaining and held a 77-76 lead before Arizona went on an 8-0 run and finished strong for a 90-83 win. Oregon’s offense was efficient for most of the game but in the last four minutes relied on quick three-point attempts which hurt them in the stretch.
Deandre Ayton continued his impressive season. He ended the first half with 10 points and four rebounds with some nice plays. As in previous games, Ayton continues to have a nice pass or two every game which leads to an Arizona three. Ayton and the rest of his team worked hard on defensive rebounding and positioning, which allowed the Ducks to only have one offensive rebound in the first half. Ayton has had many plays this year where his footwork stands out. As his passing, his footwork is very underrated and more people should be talking about it. Ayton shot an impressive 10-of-11 from the free throw line in this game. He would finish the game with 24 points (7-of-11) and seven rebounds.
Rawle Alkins had a nice all around game. He finished the game with 13 points, three rebounds and six assists. Alkins has made several great passes over the last few weeks and is a very underrated passer. He has shown that he is willing to pass the ball and find the open man leading to baskets. Although he had six assists, he also had five turnovers. Decreasing the amount of turnovers is something that can come with experience but his ability to pass the ball is a positive. Another thing to pay attention to with Alkins is his shooting from beyond the arc. He isn’t shooting the ball as well as he did last year but a consistent three would make him that much better. On the defensive side of the ball, Alkins matched up with Troy Brown. Brown normally takes advantage of smaller players guarding him and generally uses his body to get to the basket. Alkins isn’t someone Brown was able to bully and he did a good job at staying in front keeping Brown out of the paint.
Allonzo Trier got off to a hot start by making his first three of the game followed by several transition layups. Trier seems to get out in transition several times each game and is a good finisher when dealing with contact. Trier went through a cold streak towards the end of the first half and ended up with nine points on 3-of-8 shooting. He got back on track in the second half by adding 16 more points. He was able to get to the foul line quite a bit as he shot a perfect 11-of-11. As the Ducks were taking the lead and challenging the Wildcats, Trier starting to attack the basket play after play. He consistently got to the basket and forced the refs to make calls which allowed him to get easy points at the free throw line. Throughout the season, Trier has shown that he is capable of scoring in many ways. He would finish the game with 25 points and six rebounds.
Oregon’s Troy Brown, a freshman, started off the game with a nice catch and shoot 15 footer. He moved pretty well without the ball but wasn’t able to get going offensively. As mentioned, he normally gets to the rim by using his body but he wasn’t able to take advantage of Alkins today. Besides his first points of the game, he had a quiet night. He was well below his average in points and rebounds but he was still able to distribute the ball and racked up six assists. He definitely has the size to play at the next level but struggled to show his talent in this one.
Another player that came into the game with high expectations was Oregon’s Pritchard. He scored the first basket of the night with a layup in transition but was ineffective the rest of the first half. He only took two more shots, with one being forced by the shot clock. Normally a 42 percent shooter from distance he continued to struggle in the second half and shot 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. He was able to have an impact on the game in the second half even though his shot wasn’t falling which is always a good sign. He ended the game with 12 points, seven assists, four rebounds, four steals, and zero turnovers. He was most effective in transition this game. Even though he struggled on offense throughout the night, he stayed confident and hit a big three towards the end of the game but it wasn’t enough to beat the Wildcats.
Elijah Brown is a graduate transfer from New Mexico. He scored 17 points against the Wildcats last year and topped that effort today. He shot lights out and put up 25 points on 6-of-10 from three. He scored almost all of his points strictly from spotting up. He’s not as effective when forcing shots, shooting from too deep or off the dribble.
This article was written by Zach Milner, 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.