Here are three takeaways from UA’s non-conference finale:
1: The Starting Five is as Versatile as Ever
The ‘Cats have a serious claim for the most talented roster in the NCAA. Tonight proved that every member of Sean Miller’s starting five can change the game.
For the vast majority of the game, veteran center Dusan Ristic was the only player on the court who could do anything on offense. It certainly helped that Deandre (or Dre, if you’re Bill Walton) Ayton was in foul trouble and drawing double teams, but it was certainly reassuring to see Ristic play the star role when he was needed.
By the end of the game others, especially leading scorer Rawle Alkins who finished with 20 points, had stepped up, but an unsung hero like Ristic acting as the leader of the team has to give the Wildcat faithful confidence.
The big man finished with 18 points (6-9 FG) and 10 rebounds — his second double-double of the season.
2: Still Some Issues
It looked as if ‘Zona had turned a corner in the last few games, as their two huge victories over Texas A&M and Alabama were followed by routs of weak opponents.
However, UConn gave Arizona quite a game for a while, proving this team still has issues.
Connecticut certainly isn’t the worst team in basketball, but Arizona had a clear talent advantage coming in, especially with Trier playing significant minutes. Neither team played a great game, as the teams combined for 31 turnovers and both teams’ field goal percentages were in the 40s most of the game.
Arizona can’t afford another iffy performance if they are going to beat third-ranked Arizona State next Saturday.
3: Trier’s Knee Seems Fine
Despite suffering a knee injury Monday, Allonzo Trier played 35 minutes against the Huskies, and looked as healthy as could be.
He didn’t play great — not many players did — but he finished with 15 points on 5-11 shooting.
With Trier looking healthy against UConn and Arizona not playing its next game for nine days, it appears the knee sprain won’t have any lasting effect on Trier and the Wildcats.
With the win, Arizona moves to 10-3 while UConn falls to 7-4. The Wildcats’ Pac-12 opener against No. 3 ASU is on Dec. 30 in Tucson.