While No. 7 Arizona’s 57-47 win over UCLA last Saturday wasn’t an offensive masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, one positive to be taken from the game was the perimeter shooting of junior guard Gabe York. After shooting a combined 2-for-9 from three in games against Arizona State and USC, York made three of his five three-point attempts and scored 13 points for the Wildcats.
On a night that saw many of the team’s main weapons struggle mightily against UCLA’s multiple defensive looks, York was a key reason (along with their defense) why the Wildcats were able to pull away despite beginning both halves with lengthy scoring droughts. The question in the days leading up to Arizona’s game at Colorado Thursday night was whether or not York would be able to build on that performance, and he answered in the affirmative.
The Wildcats had little trouble with the Buffaloes, winning 82-54, and York was one of five players to score in double figures as he tallied 14 points. York shot 4-for-5 from three, meaning that he’s made seven of his last ten three-point attempts. These last two games represent the first time since mid-December that York has managed to make multiple three-pointers in consecutive games.
He’s shooting the basketball with increased confidence, and for a team that doesn’t have a high number of consistent perimeter shooters this is an important development moving forward.
“Coach (Sean Miller) got me the first shot to get me going and the defense was giving me these open looks and I just knocked them down,” York said. “Right now I just have the utmost confidence. The basket just looks like a sea to me right now.”
With a trip to Salt Lake City to take on No. 13 Utah Saturday night next on the schedule, Thursday’s win was just what Arizona needed from an offensive standpoint. The Wildcats shot nearly 53 percent from the field against Colorado, and with junior center Kaleb Tarczewski playing with increased confidence (he’s averaging 12.8 points and 6.3 rebounds over the last four games) Arizona’s getting more production from its starting center.
With all of the athletic tools at Sean Miller’s disposal they need a pressure release of sorts, a player who can make teams pay for sagging in order to take away driving lanes for wings Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. And as the calendar approaches March, Gabe York is beginning to emerge as that figure.