In battle of big men, Tarczewski work in progress

2012-12-16T00:00:00Z In battle of big men, Tarczewski work in progressDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 16, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Kaleb Tarczewski sprinted to mid-court to celebrate with his teammates.

After Arizona's thrilling 65-64 win over Florida, Tarczewski was one of the first to start jumping up and down with his hands over his head.

He was off the hook.

The freshman 7-foot center, who fouled out with more than five minutes remaining in the game, had just four points and three rebounds in the win. The four points tied a season-low and the three boards were a new low.

But, Tarczewski will clearly take the win.

Entering Saturday's game, the Tarczewski-Patric Young matchup was the most talked-about key to victory for both teams. How would Arizona's standout freshman play against an experienced player like the 6-foot-9-inch junior Young, who went for 25 and 10 against Arizona last season?

The answer is that Tarczewski still needs time to grow. Young finished with eight points, two rebounds and two blocks and a steal.

But their matchup wasn't what defined Saturday's game after all.

Florida's late-game blunders were.

The Gators were in control of the game but couldn't execute late. Florida led by double digits in the second half, but had just two field goals over the final six minutes 31 seconds of the game.

Guard Scottie Wilbekin nailed a three-pointer with 2:44 to play to give Florida a 64-58 lead. But, the Gators wouldn't score again.

Instead, Kenny Boynton missed two three-pointers and a free throw and had a turnover in that stretch.

Mike Rosario also had a pair of turnovers in the final two-plus minutes and the Gators didn't even attempt a shot in the final 1:24. They were forced into turnovers by Arizona's defense, giving way to the Wildcats' comeback win.

Had Florida been able to hold on for the win, it would have been the program's first victory on the road against a non-conference team ranked in the top 10.

Instead, coach Billy Donovan's team left Tucson still looking for that win.

Ashley struggles, too

Arizona's other starting big man, Brandon Ashley, also struggled.

Ashley didn't hit a field goal, going 0 for 2, and grabbed three rebounds in 22 minutes. He played just seven minutes in the second half.

His counterpart, Erik Murphy, had 15 points and seven rebounds and the Gators outrebounded Arizona by 11.

But, evidenced by the final score, the post success didn't equal a win.

The Wildcats did get some big minutes from their third freshman forward, Grant Jerrett. He hit two crucial jumpers in the second half and finished with five points and three rebounds.

Rim shots

• Arizona's win was the Pac-12 Conference's first over a top-10 non-conference opponent in the regular season since 2009, when USC knocked off No. 9 Tennessee.

• The win was also the program's first over a nationally ranked opponent since Arizona beat No. 3 Duke 93-77 in the 2011 NCAA tournament.

• Arizona's largest lead in the game was two points, when it led 4-2 early in the first half. Florida eventually grabbed an 8-7 lead and never trailed again until Mark Lyons' game-winning bucket.

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Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Washington 0 0 0 0.000 3 0 0 1.000
UCLA 0 0 0 0.000 4 0 0 1.000
Arizona 0 0 0 0.000 4 0 0 1.000
Stanford 0 0 0 0.000 3 0 0 1.000
California 0 0 0 0.000 3 1 0 0.750
Arizona State 0 0 0 0.000 3 1 0 0.750
Oregon 0 0 0 0.000 3 1 0 0.750
Oregon State 0 0 0 0.000 3 1 0 0.750
Utah 0 0 0 0.000 2 1 0 0.667
Colorado 0 0 0 0.000 2 1 0 0.667
USC 0 0 0 0.000 2 3 0 0.400
Washington State 0 0 0 0.000 1 2 0 0.333

AP Top 25

Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
Missouri at
11/24 53-72
Oregon State at
Oklahoma State
11/24 53-66
Michigan at
11/24 70-63
Kansas State at
11/25 70-63
Cal State-Fullerton at
11/25 9:00 pm
Texas-Pan American at
11/26 6:00 pm
Auburn at
Oregon State
11/26 7:00 pm
Cal Poly at
11/26 8:00 pm
San Jose State at
11/27 9:00 pm
UC-Santa Barbara at
Washington State
11/27 10:00 pm
Colgate at
Arizona State
11/29 12:00 am
Alabama State at
11/29 12:00 am
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