The Wildcats were red hot in the second half against Gonzaga, completing a thrilling 68-63 comeback win in a hostile road environment.
Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer torched Arizona for 33 points, 20 of which came in the second half. Wiltjer seemed to score at will, dominating the first half.
But Arizona turned up the intensity in the second half, fueled by a big performance from senior Gabe York. York led the Wildcats with 18 points on 7 of 16 shooting. He was on fire from beyond the arc, hitting 4 of 6 three point attempts. All four of his three pointers came in the second half, when York elevated his play and the players around him.
York hit timely shots that gave Arizona confidence, resulting in an inspired second half that completely turned the tables on a Gonzaga team that could have run away with the game.
Ryan Anderson also stepped up in the second half. After going 0 of 4 on field goals in the first half, Anderson attacked Gonzaga for 11 points on 5 of 6 shooting in the second period. He finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes.
Allonzo Trier was the other Wildcat in double figures scoring, chipping in 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting. Trier was a force in transition, as he got to the rim at will and finished with some spectacular moves. Trier also had 6 rebounds and played 35 minutes, showing great maturity on the court in critical situations.
Arizona had 34 points in the paint and also got 10 second chance points off 12 offensive rebounds.
The atmosphere in the second half resembled an NCAA Tournament game, with 5 lead changes and some intense play from both sides. Arizona did not have the lead for over 31 minutes, but came back to take the lead with 8:21 to go on a layup by Trier.
The lead seesawed for a few possessions, but Arizona took a lead they would not relinquish going up 62-61 with 6:17 left to play.
Gonzaga seemed stunned while the Wildcats became the aggressors and delivered a knock out punch to the #13 ranked Bulldogs.
Arizona moves to 7-1 on the season, and will likely jump into the top 15 after Saturday’s big win on the road against a quality Gonzaga team. Going into March, this may be one of the Wildcats’ resume-making wins.