The No. 2 seeded Arizona Wildcats wasted no time on Thursday as they came out of the gates firing on all cylinders and went on to destroy Texas Southern by a final score of 93-72.
Arizona came out hot as they pushed the lead to double-digits within the first four minutes of the game. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson took over early on and would leave Texas Southern in the dust.
Shortly before halftime Johnson took a Texas Southern defender off the dribble and threw down a tomahawk slam.
The three keys I gave that Arizona must take care of in order to advance to the next round were to hit their free throws, to incorporate the bench in the offense, and to limit mistakes on the offensive side of the ball.
For starters, Arizona was automatic from the free throw line. As a team they made 24 of their 27 free throw attempts (88.8 percent).
The bench didn’t necessarily put up too many points as they only scored nine of the team’s 93 points, but played their fair share of good defense. Gabe York, who averaged 9.1 points per game in the regular season, scored zero points in what was a disappointing performance to open up the tournament.
Arizona took care of the ball as they only had 12 turnovers. While taking care of the ball, all five Arizona starters reached double-digit marks in scoring. Hollis-Jefferson definitely improved his draft stock as he put up a game-high 23 points and grabbed 10 boards in the process.
Johnson put up 22 points of his own while contributing five rebounds to the cause. Brandon Ashley scored 14 points, while Kaleb Tarczewski and T.J. McConnell scored 13 points and 12 points respectively.
Arizona dominated the boards throughout the game and finished with a 31-17 advantage. Both teams shot the ball very effectively, limiting the number of rebounds in the game, as Texas Southern shot 47 percent and Arizona shot 60.3 percent.
With the victory Arizona will take on No. 10 Ohio State, who defeated No. 7 VCU in overtime, in the next round with the winner of the matchup moving on to the Sweet Sixteen.