Despite the first half ejection of Kevin Parrom and major foul trouble, Arizona breezed through Washington State with a 79-65 victory that emphasized how much depth the Cats possess.
Only nine minutes into the game, Arizona found itself with a double digit lead as Solomon Hill had already connected on two three pointers. But when Parrom intentionally retaliated to the Cougars’ DaVonte Lacy with a punch and was subsequently kicked out, it appeared that Washington State might gain momentum in its version of a “White Out.”
Instead, Arizona continued to methodically grow the lead behind the shooting of Hill and solid post play by all three freshmen big men.
After being limited to 10 points versus Washington, Hill came out firing from behind the arc in the first half. In all, he made six treys, including a 65 foot buzzer beater to give the Cats a 14 point lead heading into the locker room.
Mark Lyons also nicely rebounded from a poor shooting night in Seattle by leading the team with 20 points, including a couple dagger baskets in the final minutes of the game. He was far from perfect, committing four turnovers while dishing out one assist. Due to foul trouble, he was on the court for only 23 minutes, leaving significant playing time for Jordin Mayes.
Also finding themselves on the bench for good portions of the game because of fouls were Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley. Even though the two saw limited action, each showed how far they have come since the beginning of Pac-12 play.
By far the tallest player on the court, Zeus once again used his size to score in the paint and draw fouls. He made all four of his free throw attempts and the last one put him in double digits for the third consecutive game.
Ashley meanwhile had a couple nice offensive put-backs as well as two floaters. He also grabbed five rebounds, tied for the team high with Grant Jerrett.
Jerrett made his presence felt more on the defensive side with four blocks. He's still working to find consistency from behind the arc but when he does, he will become one of the more versatile power forward/centers in the country.
Arizona didn’t look overly impressive in any one category on Saturday night. However, it did more than enough to maintain a healthy distance from Washington State, who shot just 40% from the field.
The Cats aren’t a particularly great offensive team but as long as they continue to defend with the same tenacity as they have the last three games, final outcomes will continue to mirror what the scoreboard read in Pullman.