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Arizona Takes Care of Little Brother

Updated: Feb 22

TUCSON, AZ - On Saturday night during parents' weekend, No. 5 Arizona took care of business and dominated Arizona State 105-60.  The 45-point win made it the largest margin of victory in the 246 meetings between the two programs.  Last time the Wildcats played the Sun Devils was last year in the McKale Center on senior night, but got their hearts broken when Arizona State drilled a 60-foot buzzer-beater and upset the ‘Cats 89-88.

Prior to Saturday’s duel, the Wildcats were coming off the toughest road trip of the year, yet swept Utah and Colorado, extending their win streak to five games. For the Sun Devils, beating the Utes on the road and the Beavers at home had momentum going into Saturday despite the spread being 18.5 point favorites to Arizona.

The Wildcats wasted no time shooting 68% in the first half with Caleb Love leading the way with 12 points and Oumar Ballo bringing in 9 points and 9 rebounds before the break.  For Arizona State, Jose Perez led the team with 9 points shooting 4/7 from the field, but had no help from the rest of his team only shooting 40% as the Devils were down 18 at half.  The next 20 minutes was men amongst boys, Arizona came out of the break shooting 47% with Jaden Bradley putting up 13 second-half points to bring his total to a career-high 21 points on the night and right behind him was Oumar Ballo with his fifth consecutive double-double with 15 points and 11 boards.  The Sun Devils, on the other hand, had a rough second half only putting up 29 points as a team and shot 32% from the court, not to mention both Alonzo Gaffney and Shawn Phillips Jr. fouled out of the game, forcing head coach Bobby Hurley to go deep into his bench which did not help ASU overcome a Mount Everest type deficit.

With many Arizona Alumni in attendance with the likes of Jason Terry, Justin Kier, and Christain Koloko who was inducted into the Arizona Ring of Honor at halftime, the ‘Cats put on a show for yet another sellout crowd in the ‘Dirty T’.  In the postgame press conference, Keshad Johnson gave a shoutout to Lute Olson saying it means “something wearing that Block A on your chest” and how the team represents the whole state of Arizona, especially the city of Tucson.  Tommy Lloyd said postgame that he’s proud of his guys and wants them to “make repeatable habits”, further explaining that this is a game of habits and players get to choose them, but Lloyd’s job is to make his players “have great habits”.

Next up for Arizona is newly ranked No. 21 Washington State on Thursday at 9 PM in Tucson.  In what is the game of the year for both programs, U of A leads the PAC-12 standings by one game with WSU right behind them. It is the first PAC-12 game against a Top 25 opponent this season for the ‘Cats and the winner of this game will more than likely be crowned the regular season champions of the PAC-12.  Tommy Lloyd stated that it is “gonna be the hardest game all year”, saying Wazzu is a “team that creates problems” and won’t be easy by any means necessary.  With the Cougars coming into the game on a seven-game win streak and the Wildcats winning their last six games, Thursday’s ‘PAC-12 After Dark’ will be a must-watch.

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