It was another typical Arizona Wildcats game. Play down to the level of the competition at the beginning, then turn it on for the final 25 minutes or so.
This held true against the California Golden Bears on Saturday. Behind stifling defense and timely shot-making, Arizona (18-2, 6-1 Pac-12) held its place atop the Pac-12 standings with a 73-50 victory.
Kaleb Tarczewski picked up three fouls in the first twelve minutes of game action, but Dusan Ristic was there to pick up the slack. After a couple of nice low-post moves, the freshman from Serbia found himself wide open from three after a T.J. McConnell drive and dish. Ristic nailed the shot, then did some sort of bizarre triangle thing with his hands to celebrate it.
DUSAN RISTIC LADIES AND GENTLEMEN pic.twitter.com/G62Ir7D6xd— Kinney Anderson (@kinkin4dawinwin) January 25, 2015
Ristic finished the first half with seven points, trailing only Stanley Johnson's 11 at the break. Johnson's first points of the second half came at the 12 minute mark on a fast break dunk after a great steal. The star freshman would lead all scorers with 18 points.
There was never a lot of drama as Cal only held the lead for a total of 10 seconds of game time. Here are a couple of other quick notes:
Free throw shooting: Sean Miller has said all year that this team is a good free throw shooting team, and Arizona proved it in Berkeley. UA was 23-26 from the charity stripe Saturday.
Depth: No one player for the Wildcats took over the scoring column on the night. Arizona led Cal in bench scoring 22-0. That's right. No Cal bench points. Only four Bears scored points against the Wildcats.
Shot selection: The Wildcats only took five shots from beyond the arc on the night. Two of them were by Gabe York, and one each from Ristic, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Elliott Pitts. Even with the lack of scoring overall, it's encouraging to know that Arizona wasn't forcing any unnecessary shots from long range.
Ashley returns: Yes, we all know Brandon Ashley broke his foot at Cal last year. There was all this talk about him getting redemption this time around. Well, he fouled out with more than five minutes left in the game. He recorded six points and two rebounds in 19 minutes.
Next up: The Oregon schools (didn't Arizona just play them?) come to Tucson next Wednesday and Friday. The Ducks are in McKale first, followed by the Beavers on Friday. Both games are on Pac-12 Networks.