The 9-1 Arizona Wildcats squared off with the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Wednesday night, with Arizona looking to extend their 44 game home win streak to 45. Extend it to 45, they did, as Arizona demolished NAU 92-37.
This game was competitive for the first 13 minutes. NAU's Jaleni Neely nailed a three with 6:53 left in the first half to make it a 20-16 game. After that, Arizona didn't just run away with the game. It was more of a sprint. The Wildcats would finish the first half with a 20-8 run to take a 40-24 lead to the break.
Sean Miller gave a strongly worded interview at the end of the first half, pointing out that "We're not doing anything well...this is a me game, not a we game, everybody is looking for their own shots...We really need to improve here in our halftime talk..."
Improve, huh? Apparently this halftime talk worked. Arizona would absolutely explode in the second half, going on a 33-4 run over the first 11 minutes and would never really let up. The Wildcats led by more than 40 most of the half, absolutely lighting up the scoreboard, shooting an incredible 77% from the floor and outscoring the Lumberjacks 52-13 in the second half.
While there is a talent discrepancy between these two teams, Arizona didn't just use their talent and athleticism to pull away from NAU. It was a phenomenal team effort. The Wildcats had 17 assists on their 34 made field goals. Arizona outrebounded NAU by a whopping amount, 50-24. Plus the defense forced NAU to shoot bad shots consistently, as they would end up shooting 21% from the field.
Mark Tollefsen had his second-straight sensational game, leading the way with 19 points, adding eight rebounds. Ryan Anderson had his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Kadeem Allen looked fantastic running the offense AND the defense, with seven points, seven assists and five steals. Even undermanned with the absence of Kaleb Tarczewski and Elliott Pitts, this team appears to be hitting its stride. Everyone appears to be much more comfortable, as even freshmen Justin Simon and Chance Comanche have seen a lot more consistent minutes and appear to be finding their roles on the floor for Arizona.
Next up for the Wildcats is a tough one on Saturday night in McKale against the Runnin' Rebels of UNLV. That one tips off at 7:30 PM MST on ESPN2. The Rebels will be coming off a loss to ASU, and Kadeem Allen called this a "revenge" game for the Wildcats.