Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Arizona-Gonzaga: Wildcats’ rally falls short

Arizona loses 71-60. A slow start meant the Wildcats had to play catch-up all game, and while they did an admirable job of rallying, Gonzaga just had too many easy points in the paint and follow-up baskets over the course of the game.

Arizona drops to 7-4 and loses to Gonzaga for the first time in four games.

Kyle Fogg led Arizona with 14 points, 12 in the second half.

Power forward Elias Harris was a force for Gonzaga with 27 points.

* * *

That was a critical exchange, as Gonzaga broke the UA press and got a layup from Elias Harris to push the lead to 66-58. Arizona then commits a turnover.

* * *

The Wildcats are still fighting to rally after being down 20 points in the second half. Arizona got the deficit to six points, including a jumper from Nick Johnson with 2 minutes to go.

Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos made two free throws with 1:40 left to make it an eight-point lead, although his two misses with 1:20 left kept the door open for Arizona. Nick Johnson’s two free throws for Arizona cut it back to six points.

* * *

Arizona keeps clawing back, trailing by six with less than two minutes to play.

* * *

The Wildcats have cut the lead to 10 points three times in the second half, the latest coming when Jordin Mayes hits a 3-pointer with 3:44 left. Does Arizona have one more run left?

* * *

Arizona doesn’t recognize the shot clock after a timeout, and commits a shot-clock violation when it had a chance to cut the lead to single digits with less than 7 minutes to play.

* * *

Arizona has made 4 of 7 3-point shots in the second half. A few more from long range and this will get really interesting.

* * *

An 8-0 run, fueled by 3-points from Kyle Fogg and Jesse Perry, brought Arizona within 55-45 with 7:48 to play. The defensive intensity is better in this half, when the Cats trailed by as many as 20 points.

* * *

Interesting that coach Sean Miller allowed CBS into his coaches meeting at halftime. Cameras captured him telling his assistants:

“Gonzaga doesn’t get enough credit for how physical they are. When (they’re) that much more physical, you beg the whole game as a coach. Until that evens out, it doesn’t really matter. We have a couple of guys scared.”

* * *

A slow start, poor interior defense and a lack of rhythm on offense.

All of Arizona’s warts were on display in the first half against Gonzaga in Seattle, with the Wildcats trailing 39-21 at the break.

Gonzaga had 18 points in the paint, and versatile post Elias Harris especially took advantage early when matched up against Solomon Hill, out of position defensively at power forward in UA’s small starting lineup. Harris had 17 points in the first half — five above his game average.

Arizona eventually turned to a bigger lineup, with Jesse Perry at power forward and Angelo Chol or Kyryl Natyazhko at center, although neither of those centers provide much in the way of offense.

Without the ability to get easy points from the post (a season-long issue), the Cats struggled to set up the offense and often rushed 3-point shots. Arizona was 1 of 9 from 3-point range in the first half — and it needs those shots to falls to keep pace.

Gonzaga led 22-4 about nine minutes into the game, and, with the exception of a couple of mini-runs from Arizona, stayed in control throughout the half. The Zags led by as many as 19 points.

Hill had only two points in the half. Arizona had a mere one free throw attempt.

Search site | Terms of service