College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, December 25, 2012
There were no college basketball games played on the US mainland Christmas Day, but eight teams took to the hardwood in Hawaii as the Diamond Head Classic concluded.
#17 San Diego State and #3 Arizona advanced to the finals in a match-up of Top 25 teams, and, for much of the game, it appeared the Wildcats would become the latest unbeaten team to suffer its first loss.
Down by as many as eight points, the Wildcats rallied to a 68-67 victory, preserved by Nick Johnson's swat of an attempted layup by the Aztecs' Chase Tapley as the final seconds ticked away.
Senior forward Soloman Hill led all scorers with a season-high 21 points, making seven of 15 from the field and adding another seven points from the foul line. Hill also grabbed six boards and handed out three assists for the 12-0 Wildcats.
Arizona is one of just five undefeated teams in Division 1. Duke, Michigan, Cincinnati and Wyoming are the others. Soon to be plying their skills against a watered-down PAC-12, the Wildcats are poised to make a serious run to the conference championship and into the NCAA tourney come March.
The Wildcats open conference play with a pair of home games on January 3rd and 5th, facing Utah and Colorado, the two newest members of the expanded conference.