Arizona was in control for the entire game, winning their first conference road test against Oregon 80-62.
The Wildcats came out focused and firing, hitting 8 of their first 12 attempts from the field. Arizona was sharp, and behind some crisp ball movement they stunned a Ducks team that was looking forward to a potential season-defining upset.
However, the Ducks never gave up and continued to cut Arizona’s lead. Though star player Joseph Young was not converting, Oregon got extra effort from supporting cast members that kept the game from getting out of hand.
Perhaps the most surprising event of the night was how senior point guard TJ McConnell flipped the script. Known for his facilitating, McConnell was aggressive on offense to the tune of a season high 21 points on 9 of 14 shooting.
It was an incredible tactical move by Sean Miller, who anticipated Dana Altman’s Oregon team to sag off McConnell. McConnell took the extra room and made the opponents pay with his jump shot, en route to one of his best performances of the year.
McConnell had just three assists, but his offensive output steadied Arizona throughout the game and provided a wrinkle that the opponent wasn’t ready for.
Stanley Johnson was once again a monster, converting 8 of 10 free throw attempts for 14 points. He also chipped in 7 rebounds and 3 assists, including multiple interior feeds.
Kaleb Tarczewski hit Oregon early and often, double-doubling with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Tarczewski’s combination of size, skill, and mobility was too much for Oregon, as the big man converted at the rim while playing solid interior defense throughout the game. Zeus finished 5 of 7 from the field.
This game also marked a new starting lineup, featuring McConnell, Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley, and Tarczewski. Hollis-Jefferson stepped up in a starting role, scoring 13 points with 9 rebounds.