Arizona finishes the regular season 27-4 overall and 16-2 in the Pac-12, clinching a share of the Pac-12 title.
Four Wildcats had two or more fouls in the first half, as Arizona trudged to a 30-29 lead at halftime.
However, the Wildcats wasted no time creating separation in the second half, as they started the period on a 9-0 run to take a 42-32 lead, their largest lead of the game at the time.
From there, ASU was unable to get its deficit under eight points, and UA’s largest lead of the game was 16 when Alkins converted an and-one with 5:13 left in regulation.
Alkins had 11 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Arizona outrebounded ASU 50-27 and had a 14-3 edge in second chance points.
The Wildcats shot 44 percent in the second half after shooting just 34 percent in the first half. Trier scored 14 of his points in the final 20 minutes, as Arizona outscored ASU 43-31.
Lauri Markkanen’s shooting struggles continued as he shot 3 for 10 from the field, missing all five of his 3-point attempts (he airballed two of them).
The 7-footer did have nine rebounds and two monstrous blocks, though, as he impacted the game in other ways.
Arizona got out to a 16-7 lead after a dunk by Chance Comanche off an assist from Kobi Simmons, but ASU went on a 10-2 run, capped by a Kodi Justice 3 to make cut UA’s lead to 18-17.
Trier converted an and-one to put Arizona up 24-17, but again the Sun Devils made a run as Arizona scored just one point over the next four minutes.
ASU took its first lead of the game on a 3 by Torian Graham, but Alkins drove baseline to give Arizona a 27-26 lead and the Wildcats would lead 30-29 at halftime.
Arizona’s offense was generating decent looks, but jumpers weren’t falling. The Wildcats shot 34 percent from the field in the first half and 2 of 10 from 3. ASU shot 42 percent and 4 of 11, respectively.
However, Arizona tracked down seven offensive rebounds and had a 10-3 edge in second-chance points, allowing it to take the one-point lead at the break.
Alkins had a team-high seven points and eight rebounds in the first half while Parker Jackson-Cartwright made both of his 3-point attempts and Comanche added six points.
Trier, Markkanen, and Dusan Ristic combined for just eight points in the first 20 minutes.
Markkanen was 0 of 3 from the field and only played four minutes because he picked up two early fouls. Trier was 2 of 8 from the field and missed all four of his 3s, including one that failed to draw iron.
Markkanen was not the only player in foul trouble for Arizona in the first half. Jackson-Cartwright had three fouls, while Simmons and Keanu Pinder each had two along with Markkanen.
In total, there were 22 fouls called in the first half, and ASU had three players with two fouls.
Many of the fouls were of the non-shooting variety, though, so the free throws weren’t piling up.
UA’s foul trouble did not prove to be much of an issue in the second half.
It did essentially keep Kobi Simmons off the floor, though. Simmons picked up a third foul early in the second half and only played five minutes in the game.
His only stat was his assist to Comanche.
As a team, Arizona struggled from 3 against ASU, but Jackson-Cartwright was an exception. He was 2 of 2 from 3, continuing his recent success from behind the arc.
Jackson-Cartwright, once shooting under 30 percent from 3, is 13 of 18 from 3 in the last five games, raising his 3-point percentage over 40 percent.
Pinder plays ... a lot
Because of the foul trouble Arizona had, Pinder played 25 minutes, which was the most he has played all season.
Pinder’s finished with three points and four rebounds and while those stats won’t jump of the page, he was constantly around the ball and, as usual, Arizona’s defense was better when he was on the floor.
Pinder was a + 18.
Aside from ASU’s student section, the crowd at Wells Fargo Arena was nearly a 50-50 split between Arizona and ASU fans. “Ari-zona” and “U of A” chants often overpowered the chants of the home crowd — even during ASU’s intro video.
Wildcats clinch a share of Pac-12 title
With their 16-2 Pac-12 record, the Wildcats have officially clinched a share of the conference title and could win it outright if the Oregon Ducks lose to the Oregon State Beavers later today in Corvallis (that probably won’t happen).
Also, if Oregon wins, it clinches the No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament.
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