Well that was fun wasn't it? After a stretch of games where Arizona barely beat good teams like Gonzaga and San Diego State, just snuck by pretty good teams like Kansas State, and had trouble pulling away from something called Gardner Webb, it was nice to see the Wildcats take care of business tonight in a rather easy fashion. Yes it was another relatively slow start but it didn't feel like a worrisome slow start tonight as the Cats size and defense led to a slew of easy points as the game progressed. Stanley Johnson led a balanced attack with 14 points and player of the game Dusan Ristic showed off some nice moves and finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds and a lot of most likely incorrect things said about him by Bill Walton.
The bench got to play heavy minutes in this one, which is exactly what Sean Miller had to be hoping for, as the lead swelled to above 30 mid-way through the second half. Thirteen (!) different players got on the court tonight including fan favorites Jacob Hazzard, Drew Mellon and Matt Korcheck and we got to see some decent minutes for Craig Victor as well. Miller is wise to use games like this to give the bench some confidence and it paid off especially for Ristic as he bullied the much smaller Utah Valley team down low. At some point this season we will have a game where our starting bigs get in foul trouble and it's nice to see Ristic building some confidence.
Stray Observations and Random Musings
- I am not going to mention anything about anyone specific on Utah Valley. You will never see them again and if you are reading the recap to this game you have already committed enough mental capacity to NCAA Basketball. They were small and they were cute and they tried hard and they lost.
- Tonight was the return of Bill Walton into our lives! I once wrote an article that I stand fully by, that Bill Walton makes games feel completely unimportant and his incessant, random chattering completely shatters the illusion of importance that sporting events thrive off of. However, tonight was not an important game and therefore I didn't mind Bill one bit. This is the type of game I like having crazy Uncle Bill around for.
- This was the first time all season that Stanley looked like he was cruising by people almost as easily as he did in all of his high school mix-tapes. That was enjoyable.
- Parker Jackson-Cartwright looked good again and his relentless energy is a really positive thing for this team. A capable back-up PG was a big concern entering this season but every game I get more and more excited about PJC.
- T.J. McConnell's reverse layup was so, so pretty. I give it a slight edge on York's soaring dunk for the highlight of the game.
- Boston Gubler sounds like a name that an under the influence Bill Walton would call himself to check into a hotel room.
Hosting the Michigan Wolverines at 3:15 PM Mountain on Saturday, December 13 in a game that looked much better on paper in the off-season.