Thanks largely to an 11-of-19 showing from the 3-point line, No. 14 Arizona cruised past Cal 79-58 on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats were without the services of Rawle Alkins, who missed the game with a sore foot. Nevertheless, Arizona was paced on the scoreboard by DeAndre Ayton, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Arizona’s win moves its record to 15-4 overall and 5-1 in Pac-12 play — the Wildcats are still in first place in the conference.
Here’s 3 things we learned about Arizona in the win over Cal:
1) When Arizona is hitting from outside, it’s almost unbeatable
Without Alkins to roam the floor to pull down valuable boards and create extra possessions, Arizona relied on its shooting to get past the Golden Bears.
Going 11-of-19 (58 percent) from behind the arc is certainly one way to hedge the loss of an indispensable star. Arizona shot 21 points above its season average (37 percent) from deep, with 4 different players connecting on 3-pointers.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dylan Smith both connected on 3 triples apiece. Those bombs kept Cal at arm’s length for most of the second half.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) January 18, 2018
2) The Wildcats can finally produce without Alkins
While hot shooting from the perimeter certainly hedged the loss of Alkins, Arizona found production in other areas to account for his loss as well.
Arizona outrebounded Cal 36-22, including a 25-12 edge on the defensive glass.
All of Arizona’s starters shot 50 percent or higher while holding the Golden Bears to 35 percent as a team. Finding production when your best player is injured is the trait of a Final Four-caliber team, and the Wildcats showed that against Cal.
3) Arizona is finally living up to preseason hype
Not too long ago, a brutal November that included an 0-3 trip to the Bahamas seemed to spell doom in Arizona’s future.
Instead, the Wildcats are now playing their best basketball. Their only loss in Pac-12 play is to Colorado — which beat Arizona State in the same week — and the Wildcats still control their own destiny to a league title.
While the Pac-12 has been wildly unpredictable and has had a tendency to implode on itself early, Arizona seems to have survived a rough stretch and is clicking in the heart of the season.
The Wildcats travel to Stanford on Saturday.