After being on the road for two and a half weeks, the Wildcats come home to McKale Center looking to build upon their momentum with the win on Saturday overwhelming Gonzaga in the second half. Arizona faces Fresno State, who is 6-2 on the season, and in the final game of a three game road swing.
Marvelle Harris vs Gabe York – Harris is Fresno State’s best player and leading scorer, averaging 19 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. Harris will look to bounce back after a bad shooting game against Cal Poly, when he shot 5-20 and only 1-10 on three pointers. York was excellent in the second half against Gonzaga when he scored 14 points and knocked down four three pointers. He was the offensive spark the Wildcats needed to overcome the ten-point halftime deficit and led the team to victory.
Torren Jones vs Ryan Anderson – Jones averages the second most minutes for Fresno State and is the Bulldogs leading rebounder. Anderson had a quiet first half against Gonzaga but came through in the second with timely rebounds and buckets in the paint. Anderson hasn’t been able to practice the past couple weeks due to a right ankle he sprained multiple times, and his conditioning seemed to reflect that as he was subbed out more than usual. Expect to see Anderson play better against Fresno State.
Allonzo Trier has started the last two games against Boise State and Gonzaga, and played a team high 35 minutes against the Zags. With Gonzaga up 14 and threatening to blow the game open, Trier kept Arizona in the first half with his offense. Trier has gotten more at ease on the floor the past two games, playing solid team defense, not turning the ball over and rebounding.
Mark Tollefsen is also getting more comfortable in his role. Coming from San Francisco where he shot 38% from three-point range last year, Tollefsen is shooting 25% so far this year. I would like to see Tollefsen play closer to the basket, where his length and athletic ability can be utilized for jump hooks and offensive rebounds. By playing closer to the rim and in the paint, his confidence will improve which will translate to his perimeter shooting.
What To Look For
Defense. Fresno State scored 80+ points four times so far this season. Coming off their season low of 65 points against Cal Poly, the Bulldogs will look to get their offense going again.
Energy, intensity and focus. Arizona had its best half of the season in the second stanza against Gonzaga on Saturday. The Wildcats will need to continue to play with that type of effort the rest of the season, especially with Tarczewski out.
Turnovers. Arizona had 9 turnovers against Gonzaga, which is an impressive number for a team playing in their first true road game in a very hostile environment. If Arizona can limit the turnovers to 12 or less, they’ll have a great chance of winning any game they play.
Free throw shooting. Arizona was only 9-19 against Gonzaga and missed several front ends of one-and-ones. It didn’t end up costing the Wildcats but moving forward the team needs to improve. Currently the Wildcats are shooting 68% as a team.
Fresno State is a solid team that lost two games in a row and surely looking for a statement non-conference road win against Arizona. Arizona, on the other hand is looking to build upon its win on Saturday. The victory against Gonzaga could be a season changing one for the Wildcats, but they must continue to limit their turnovers, play with energy and avoid a letdown. Every game provides an opportunity to improve and the Wildcats shouldn’t take the Bulldogs lightly.