Arizona Basketball

Three top takeaways from Arizona’s 89-82 win over Stanford



Matt Korcheck slams one home in the second half in his five minutes of playing time (ESPN screen shot)

Matt Korcheck slams one home in the second half in his five minutes of playing time (ESPN screen shot)

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1. Matt Korcheck can prove vital off bench.

Tonight’s performance against Stanford (four points and two rebounds in five consequential minutes) can open doors for the senior in future games, according to coach Sean Miller.

Miller told KCUB (1290-AM) play-by-play broadcaster Brian Jeffries that Korcheck has potentially earned more opportunities with the production against the Cardinal.

“I don’t know if I’ve been happier for a kid or more proud,” Miller said. “Some times you learn more about your own team. We might use Matt more when we play a versatile 4 (power forward) or 5 (center) because he can run.”

When Korcheck replaced post player Dusan Ristic, who fouled out, with 8:48 left in the game, Arizona led by only 63-60. Two possessions later, Korcheck grabbed an offensive rebound and made the put-back to increase the lead to 67-60 with 7:43 left.

“He grabbed that rebound at a time when we really needed one,” said Miller, whose team was out-rebounded 29-25.

The Wildcats built a 71-62 lead with 4:34 left by the time Korcheck, Arizona’s lone in-state player from Sabino, exited the game . Arizona went on a decisive 8-2 run with him manning the post with Ristic out and Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski sitting with four fouls each.


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2. Korcheck part of the bench’s charge.

The Wildcats’ bench outscored Stanford’s 26-15, practically the difference in the outcome, behind the timely production of Korcheck, Gabe York (13 points) and Parker Jackson-Cartwright (seven points on 3-of-4 shooting off effective drives to the hoop).

York made two of his three attempts from three-point range and made seven of eight free-throw attempts.

The contribution from most of the rotation prompted Miller to say it was an “ultimate team win”.

Korcheck actually had the least amount of minutes of any of the Wildcats yet he belongs in the headline.

The reserves combined for 65 minutes and committed only two turnovers with four assists on the road. Korcheck, York and Jackson-Cartwright combined to shoot 7 of 9 from the field. Elliott Pitts was 0-for-4 from the field but he made both of his free-throw attempts. Arizona’s reserves made 10 of their 12 free-throw attempts.

3. Arizona’s wings, forwards take control.

Since Arizona’s loss at Oregon State — one in which Stanley Johnson was beat on defense allowing the Beavers to score the winning basket late — the freshman wing player has matured into a more effective player.

With tonight’s 19-point, seven-rebound performance, Johnson has averaged 19.7 points and 8 rebounds in the last three games against Colorado, Utah and Stanford. His season average was 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds entering the game.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was essential on defense against Chasson Randle, forcing the Pac-12’s leading scorer to attempt 18 field goals to score 26 points. Randle made only seven of those attempts. Ten of his points were on the free-throw line with a 10-of-10 performance. Hollis-Jefferson led the Wildcats with three steals.

Hollis-Jefferson also scored 13 points, although he could have produced more, making only two of his six free-throw attempts.

Brandon Ashley continued his surge, much like Johnson. He made 5 of 7 field-goal attempts and 6-of-8 free-throw tries. He finished with 17 points in only 16 minutes.

Miller was forced to limit Ashley’s minutes because of the junior’s two first-half fouls.

“If Brandon played 25 minutes, he would have had one of his greatest games in an Arizona uniform,” Miller told Jeffries.


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CAT CLAWS: Arizona won its 10th straight game against Stanford. Miller is 9-0 against the Cardinal and its coach, Johnny Dawkins. The Cardinal lost its first home game of the season tonight. … The 51 fouls called are the most in Arizona game this season. It is a far cry from the Arizona record of 84 set on Jan. 26, 1953 when Arizona had 50 fouls and NAU 34 in the Wildcats’ 90-70 win. … The officiating tonight prompted Miller to tell Jeffries: “It was a unique, funny game.” … The 82 points by Stanford mark the first time an Arizona opponent scored at least 80 points in 63 consecutive games. The previous team that scored at least 80 was USC when it beat Arizona 89-78 on Feb. 27, 2013. publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.


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