Everyone has their own favorite, but perhaps the most impressive win of Arizona’s 2013-14 regular season was the 72-70 road victory against a Michigan team that would eventually be a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Moreover, it was a game that many national analysts had pegged Arizona to lose, and they entered the game as a two point underdog.
And for awhile, it was looking like they were right.
Though the game was tightly contested throughout, the Wolverines held a 37-28 advantage at halftime and it appeared as though the Wildcats could be in store for the first loss of the season.
Unfortunately for Michigan, their attempt at a marquee non-conference victory fell short as Arizona’s size inside was just too much to handle. Arizona collected 17 offensive rebounds in the game, compared to just 6 for Michigan. Those second chance opportunities mounted and were eventually the undoing of the Wolverines.
Brandon Ashley was brilliant for the Wildcats, scoring 18 points on 8 of 16 shooting. Kaleb Tarczewski was also a monster on the interior with 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Aaron Gordon chipped in 7 of 11 shots for another 14 points.
Arizona quickly closed the gap in the second half, but for every run they put together Michigan had an answer. The Wolverines held a narrow margin for most of the second half, with the game finally tying at the 2:30 mark before Arizona raced ahead to the finish line.
It was an impressive victory not only due to the hostile environment, but also because of the resiliency of the team. Nick Johnson was just 3 of 9 from the field that day, and Arizona was finding little scoring outside of their frontcourt. But the Wildcats used their advantage inside to exploit Michigan at critical times, and Arizona’s NBA-sized front line had enough in the tank to get the job done.
There are a lot of great memories from last season, but in this game Arizona asserted themselves as one of if not the premier team in the country. And making it more special, they silenced the doubters who expected the Wildcats to fall in the process.
Take a look at these chartlets from StatSheet.com that show the stats and the story of the game. Hover over the data with your mouse to see more information.