For a team that has so much youth in its regular rotation, it was Arizona’s two seniors who powered the Wildcats to a win over an upstart Stanford team Wednesday night.
Mark Lyons scored a season-high 25 points and Solomon Hill had 23, the two accounting for nearly 66 percent of Arizona’s overall offensive output in a 73-66 win at McKale Center in Tuscon, Ariz.
Hill played the last four minutes of regulation with four fouls, but avoided fouling out. His emphatic dunk with 1:08 to play to all but put the final nail in Stanford’s coffin.
The Cardinal did not go down without a fight, though.
Stanford used the same energy it had found in its previous two games to jump out to a 10-0 lead in the first four minutes Wednesday night.
Guard Aaron Bright was hot both off the dribble and from three-point range, scoring seven of those first ten for the Cardinal. His dribble penetration opened up perimeter opportunities for teammates all night and Bright finished with 16 points.
A key matchup coming into Wednesday night’s game is how reigining Pac-12 Player of the Week Josh Huestis and versatile junior Dwight Powell would fare against the young but talented Arizona front line of Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley.
Tarczewski and Ashley combined for six points on just 2-of-9 shooting from the floor, while Huestis finished with his fifth double-double of the season, 10 points and 10 rebounds. Powell was the Cardinal’s most effective offensive option, finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Without that offensive help from the Arizona front line, more weight fell on the shoulders of the veteran guard Lyons, who responded as he often has in Pac-12 play. He did his best to counter Bright’s hot shooting from the outside with 9-of-13 shooting from the floor.
With 15:39 to play, a Bright three-pointer pushed the Stanford lead to three, 37-34. On the next possession, a Lyons assist led to an Ashley. The Xavier transfer then followed that up with a layup that gave Arizona its first lead of the game, 38-37, with 14:35 to play.
Dwight Powell’s athleticism and versatility became important for the Cardinal through the middle of the second half. Stanford went to him on four of five straight possessions, attacking Ashley and forcing him to foul out with 6:40 to go.
Solomon Hill became Arizona’s most effective scorer in the latter half of the second, scoring five straight points to tie the game at 54 with 4:44 to play.
Angelo Chol competed in the paint to grab eight rebounds and add six points.