Arizona shredded the Michigan Wolverines limb from limb, dominating the game in a brutal 80-53 blowout. Michigan came into the contest struggling after dropping two home games to unranked teams, and their worries turned to nightmares as #3 Arizona outclassed their opponent.
“Today was the best performance of the season,” Sean Miller said. “We leave here feeling very good about today’s victory. Michigan will continue to develop and hit their stride.”
Arizona’s largest lead was 36 points, as they received standout performances from numerous players. The Cats shot 32 of 55 (58%) on field goal attempts, while holding Michigan to 19 of 54 (35%). The game was well out of hand early in the second half, and a flurry of Wildcat runs and dunks ignited a raucous McKale Center.
The Wildcats could not be stopped when attacking the rim, scoring 42 points in the paint. By comparison, Michigan had just 16, and 53 points overall. Arizona also outrebounded the Wolverines 40 to 26.
“If this were a fight, it would have been stopped,” announcer Jay Bilas said late in the second half, summarizing the game succinctly. The Wildcats held the lead for all but 59 seconds of the game.
Stanley Johnson showed why he is a future NBA player, changing the game with his size, speed, and scoring. He led Arizona with 17 points on 8 of 10 shooting, as well as 7 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block. The 7 rebounds were a team high, with Kaleb Tarczewski and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson contributing 7 rebounds as well.
Johnson was also excellent on defense, showing improved understanding of when to pressure.
“For us, when we smell blood like that we just try to keep kills coming and get stops,” Johnson said.
“Stanley Johnson was terrific on defense tonight, he made very few errors,” Miller said. “He has grown on and off the court every four to six weeks.”
Gabe York hit 3 of 7 from deep on his way to 15 points and 4 assists in 23 minutes. York also hit 6 of 12 overall in another aggressive performance.
The Wildcats were hot from the field, but no one was more efficient than Tarczewski, who hit 5 of 6 shots and 5 of 6 free throws for 15 points. His backup, freshman Dusan Ristic, was perfect from the field on 3 of 3 shots, giving Arizona stellar offensive production from the center position.
“I think we have a lot to work on, we have a lot of potential,” Tarczewski said.
Freshman Parker Jackson-Cartwright once again played well in the backup point guard role, recording 4 points, 4 assists, and just one turnover. Through the season so far, the young floor leader has 24 assists to just 5 turnovers, a 4.8:1 ratio.