Arizona back to full strength following Rawle Alkins’ return, win over Alabama

Arizona-back-full-strength-following-Rawle Alkins-return-win-Alabama

TUCSON, Arizona—As Arizona went about losing three straight games in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving, looking particularly horrid in the process, many wondered where was the team that began the season No. 3 in the country.

It made its debut on Saturday night, about 3 minutes into a 88-82 home win over Alabama. That’s when Rawle Alkins made his debut after missing the first 9 games with a broken foot.

The 6’5” sophomore guard played 22 minutes during which he scored 7 points and added 2 rebounds, 3 assists, a block, a steal and far more hustle plays than you’d have expected for someone who hadn’t been in a live game since the summer.

“I wasn’t trying to do too much, I was just trying to get by,” Alkins said. “I’m still a little rusty.”

Alkins’ return meant Arizona had access to its full compliment of players for the first time this season, and coach Sean Miller figures things can only get better from here.

“It’s nice to welcome him back, now it’s up to us to kind of grow and become a better team with him,” Miller said. “The first game was the hardest and he’ll settle in as we go on.”

Though his return was notable, Arizona (7-3) once again leaned on its two horses to win its fourth straight. Freshman center DeAndre Ayton had 29 points and 18 rebounds while junior guard Allonzo Trier had 25 points despite only attempting 6 field goals, getting 14 of his points from the line.

“He has a gift of getting fouled and he’s a great free throw shooter,” Miller said of Trier, while also getting on his soapbox to campaign for Ayton to get more national recognition. “I just have a hard time believing that there’s anybody better than him. I don’t know what statement he needs to make past this.”

Arizona hasn’t lost since getting swept in the Bahamas, with the last three games coming in uniquely tough scenarios. The Dec. 2 overtime win at UNLV saw the Wildcats rally from down 11 at the half, then Tuesday’s 67-64 win over No. 7 Texas A&M in Phoenix came against an unbeaten.

Saturday they had to deal with one of the top young guards in the country in freshman Collin Sexton, who scored 30 points but was 6-of-15 from the field.

The post Arizona back to full strength following Rawle Alkins’ return, win over Alabama appeared first on Diehards.

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