Freshman forward Aaron Gordon is one of the main reasons why the Arizona Wildcats find themselves as the No. 1 team in the country. Gordon has had a decent freshman campaign, averaging 12.1 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game. Gordon has not been a prolific scorer to this point in his young career, but Thursday night, that would all change.
In their contest against Southern on Thursday, Gordon eclipsed the 20-point mark for the first time in his young career. Gordon shot an impressive 8-of-11 from the field and buried the only three-point shot he attempted. If there was any flaw in Gordon’s shooting night, it came at the charity stripe. Gordon was a ghastly 4-for-10 from the free throw line. Despite leaving six free points at the line, Gordon still finished with a career-high 21 points.
With Gordon going off, it should come as no surprise that Arizona was able to beat Southern handily by a 69-43 score. Frontcourt battery mate Brandon Ashley did not have as sharp of a shooting night as Gordon, but he did pitch in with a double-double effort. Ashley’s 10 rebounds matched his season high. Arizona’s frontcourt was a total mismatch for Southern. The combination of Gordon and Ashley outscored Southern’s front court 32-7.
If Arizona can take care of business against Northern Arizona on Monday, the Wildcats will be unbeaten through non-conference play. A win against Northern Arizona would give the Wildcats the longest reign at No. 1 all season. Going into Monday, Arizona will be tied with Michigan State with three consecutive weeks in the top spot.