Arizona entered Thursday night’s game looking for a bounce-back win after getting swept last week against Utah and Colorado. The Wildcats fought their way to a gritty 70-61 win over Oregon State, snapping the two-game losing streak, improving to 14-6 overall and 8-6 in the Pac-12.
Arizona extended its home winning streak over Oregon State to nine games. The last time the Beavers got a win in McKale Center was in the 2009-10 season during Sean Miller‘s first season as the Wildcats’ head coach.
Arizona stepped up its defensive effort against Oregon State, forcing the Beavers to go 7-for-23 from the 3-point line while shooting 38 percent from the field.
— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) February 12, 2021
In the first game against Oregon State, Arizona freshman Benn Mathurin put on a show scoring 31 points on 10-of-12 shooting while collecting eight rebounds. Although Mathurin didn’t have a 31-point game this time around, he was still a massive reason why the Wildcats could secure the victory. He ended the game with 14 points going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc while gathering two rebounds and an assist in 30 minutes.
Arizona has been able to get to the free-throw line all season long, averaging 24.9 attempts a game, third-most in the NCAA. The Wildcats continued that trend against Oregon State with 34 shots but could not shoot for a high percentage make just 23.
Christian Koloko has struggled to shoot foul shots throughout his career at Arizona with a 48.8 free-throw percentage. Koloko took a step forward in the right direction against Oregon State, going 5-for-6 from the line, which allowed him to finish the game with nine points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes.
Here are Koloko and Mathurin talking about the team’s performance and discussing what halftime adjustments were made to help secure the win:
Arizona has been tough on the boards all season long, outrebounding opponents by an average of eight a game, which ranks 17th in the nation and tops the Pac-12. The Wildcats had five different players with seven rebounds or more, which led to 47 boards to the Beavers’ 34. Arizona scored 17 second-chance points.
Although Oregon State turned the ball over only five times, Arizona got its transition offense going with 15 fast-break points because of its ability to grab long defensive rebounds.
Here’s Miller talking about his team’s effort level against Oregon State and discussing what adjustments he made at halftime to secure the victory:
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.