Arizona Wildcats Win Thanks To Performance By Brandon Ashley

Brandon

Casey Sapio- USA TODAY Sports

The unsung hero of the Arizona Wildcats’ major win on the road against the Michigan Wolverines was 6-foot-8 forward Brandon Ashley.

Ashley has not been the name you have heard of when covering the Wildcats: that title belongs to either Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson. However, the sophomore put up 18 points, six rebounds, two blocks and altered many other shots with his long arms. His might have been overshadowed this season by Gordon and Johnson, but he is averaging an impressive six rebounds and 12 points per game, especially for a blue-collar post player.

Not wowing anybody with his game, Ashley held Michigan’s Mitch McGary to eight points and four rebounds. Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski did the little things to help the Wildcats to their biggest victory of the season on the road against Michigan. Arizona has yet to allow a team to score more than 70 points all season; against the Wolverines, the Wildcats gave up exactly 70. The Wildcats won 72-70 in a nail-biter.

The Arizona forward is their defensive anchor and plays the pick-and-roll as a big man better than anybody in the country; his help defense allows Arizona’s guards to gamble and create turnovers. Against Michigan, the Wildcats forced 11 turnovers — a high number against a high-IQ basketball team.

Without Ashley, the Wildcats would have lost this game, and his second half performance was something to look up to if you are a young power forward. The Wildcats remain unbeaten and most likely will retain the no. 1 spot in the AP and coaches polls with its Pac-12 vs. Big Ten Conference showdown results. Leading his team in scoring was the least of his priorities, but when his team called upon him, Ashley delivered.

John Lloyd is a PAC-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII

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