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3 up, 3 down in Arizona’s win vs. Oregon State

Arizona’s defense? Good. Arizona’s offense? Bad. Not a typo.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at Arizona

The Arizona Wildcats overcame a sloppy first half in a 62-53 home win over the Oregon State Beavers on Thursday night.

The Wildcats are now 13-4 overall and 3-1 in the Pac-12 heading into Saturday’s game vs. the Oregon Ducks.

Our full recap of UA’s win against OSU can be found here, and our postgame notebook is posted here.

Here are some more takeaways, positive and negative, from the win:

3 up

Defense & effort

Arizona’s offense was hard to watch (more on that in a sec) but luckily its defense picked up the slack.

That is ... not something we’re accustomed to seeing this year.

Per KenPom, Oregon State’s offensive efficiency against Arizona was 81.9. Only Long Beach State and Cal State Bakersfield had worse nights against the Wildcats this season.

Arizona had trouble with Tres Tinkle and his ability to both shoot and score off the dribble, but otherwise Oregon State struggled to get good looks.

It helps that the Beavers are without a natural point guard right now, but the Wildcats were stingy and only allowed eight second-chance points.

They were opportunistic as well, generating 15 turnovers which led to 20 points and some of the highlight plays of the game, like Rawle Alkins’ reverse slam or Allonzo Trier’s posterization of Ethan Thompson.

Had Arizona turned in a defensive effort like the one it did against Colorado, it might have lost this game.

Allonzo Trier

Speaking of Trier, he had a bounceback game when Arizona needed it most.

The junior had 15 points on the Rocky Mountain road trip last week, but scored that many in the second half alone against Oregon State.

He finished with 21 points on just 12 shots. Arizona only shot 42 percent as a team, so Trier’s efficient night was massive. Plus, he made four of Arizona’s six 3-pointers.

He also made five of six free throws after not attempting a single one against Colorado.

Highlight dunks

While this game was hard to watch at times because of the slow pace and poor offense, Arizona did throw down some vicious dunks.

First it was Ira Lee who scored off a nice feed from Brandon Randolph:

Then it was Allonzo Trier dunking on Ethan Thompson, which got him No. 2 on SportsCenter’s Top 10.

Then Rawle Alkins got No. 4 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 with this reverse dunk:

And finally there was Deandre Ayton‘s dunk in transition:

3 down

First-half offense

Arizona had 21 points in the first half. Twenty-one. Let that sink in.

Yes, it hurt that Ayton only played 11 minutes because of foul trouble, but it’s not like he was getting the ball anyway. He only took three shots in those 11 minutes which is a problem.

Arizona just couldn’t get anything going toward the basket, whether on drives or dishes, only scoring eight points in the paint.

Instead, the Wildcats were firing 3s and couldn’t get any to drop. Trier did go 2-4 from behind the arc in the first half, but the rest of the team was 0-7. Arizona had nine turnovers in the period, too.

Why did these things happen? Oregon State played zone and Arizona did not execute. Surprise? Not really. We have seen this happen plenty of times before.

The Wildcats did improve quite a bit in the second half, only committing three turnovers and shooting 44 percent, but Oregon will play matchup zone Saturday so we’ll see which offense shows up for Arizona.

The bench

It was a typical night for Arizona’s bench which was not a good thing. It scored just five points on 2-10 shooting.

I guess the good news is Brandon Randolph was active in other facets of the game. The freshman had two points, but four rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

One of those assists was in transition to Lee who threw down a monstrous dunk (seen above) that helped spur Arizona after it got down 10 points early on.

Outside of that, though? The bench remained a non-factor. Will that ever change? It is not looking promising.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright

Jackson-Cartwright’s inability to score inside the arc was especially noticeable in this game. The 5-foot-8 guard had a floater swatted by Drew Eubanks and a layup altered which caused a miss.

Other times PJC didn’t even bother going up with a shot after getting into the paint. The senior was 1-6 from the field, with his lone make being a 3 (to go along five assists and three turnovers).

Normally, allowing a guard to get into the lane is a death wish for a defense since it leads to layups and drive-and-kicks.

PJC only does the latter, though, which makes him — and subsequently Arizona — easier to defend.

I looked up Jackson-Cartwright’s field goal percentage at the rim this year, and it was 37.5 heading into the Oregon State game. That is absurdly low, even for him.

Last year, he shot 50 percent at the rim which was a career-low at the time. In fact, his field goal percentage at the rim has gone down every year he has been at Arizona.

That is odd and not a great sign for Arizona’s ceiling as a team. Maybe Jeff Goodman is right?

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire