Tucson, AZ – After a surprising road loss in Boulder to Colorado, the Arizona Wildcats (12-4) looked to bounce back against the Oregon State Beavers (10-5). The Wildcats have been playing much better since their three game losing streak in the Bahamas and the return of Rawle Alkins. Oregon State jumped out to a 12-2 lead and led throughout the half. However, Arizona was able to trim the lead in a low scoring first half to 22-21 by halftime. Both teams played a pretty sloppy first half but got off to hot starts in the second half. Arizona dominated most of the half and finally started to pull away with eight minutes left in the game. The Wildcats would end up winning by a final score of 62-53.
Almost everyone on the Wildcats got off to a slow start, including Deandre Ayton. He didn’t necessarily play poorly, but he definitely wasn’t the dominant player he has been this season. Ayton went into the half with just four points and three rebounds. He started the second half strong by sealing off his defender perfectly to get an easy basket down low. A few possessions later, he made a nice pass out of the post to find Parker Jackson-Cartwright for three.
Ayton has been underrated this year in regards to his passing. He has made a good amount of nice passes from the block to find the open man on the wing. Even though he sometimes struggles to make the right decision when the double team is coming, he has made a numerous impressive passes to avoid the double team. His passing isn’t great but it is definitely something to keep an eye on. Ayton would often switch on to perimeter players in this half and he was able to challenge them for the most part. There was one possession where he was guarding Tres Trinkle on the wing. Trinkle tried driving by Ayton and getting to the left side for a layup but Ayton stuck with him the whole time and was able to come up with an great block that led to a Rawle Alkins three. Ayton finished the game with 14 points (6-of-8 FG) and 10 rebounds.
Allonzo Trier was the leading scorer this game with 21 points. He shot 6-of-12 from the field and 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. Trier was pretty quiet in the first half with just a couple of three pointers. He started out the second half strong by getting to the free throw line early and then showed some athleticism with a nice dunk on an Oregon State defender in transition. Trier normally scores in a variety of ways but he scored almost all of his points from distance or at the line in this one.
Rawle Alkins has been a huge positive for the Wildcats ever since he returned from his injury. Atkins started off the half with a nice baseline drive to finish a reverse layup. However, he struggled offensively for the rest of the half by missing all three of this attempts beyond the arc. Even though he didn’t get any offensive rebounds in this game, he was constantly down low fighting for position. When he has been able to grab offensive rebounds this season, he has taken advantage of the smaller guards who try to box him out and he is able to go back up strong and finish through contact. While Alkins struggled in the first half, he probably had the highlight of the night in the second half showing his athleticism with a nice dunk in the open court. He also showed his ability to finish with both hands in this half, while making a really smooth left hand layup. Alkins lived up to his defensive expectations in this game by coming up with three steals and disrupting many possessions with deflections. However, he did overplay a few times on defense which allowed his defender to backdoor him.
Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle, a redshirt-sophomore, came into the game averaging 18.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He got off to a quick start, knocking down two three pointers to go along with a steal and an assist to start the game. He started to cool off a bit but was able to add a few more points by attacking closeouts. Tinkle headed into the half with 10 points (2-of-3 from distance), four rebounds, and a nice assist. Tinkle was impressive as he was able to score in a variety of ways ending the night with 18 points and nine rebounds. Two things that stood out this game were his 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc and his seven turnovers. Besides the excessive number of turnovers, Tinkle had a good night.
The other star player for the Beavers is Stephen Thompson Jr. who came into the game averaging 16.5 points per game. He would end up with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting, but half of the points game in garbage time at the end of the game. Overall, it was a pretty disappointing game for the junior. Some positives to look at are his size (6-4) and his ability to get into the lane against the Wildcats’ defense. Unfortunately, he wasn’t getting anything out of his drives.
Arizona will be hosting the Oregon Ducks in their next game while Oregon State will be traveling to face the Arizona State Sun Devils.
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.