Gabe York

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No. 8 Oregon holds on for 95-89 OT win over No. 15 Arizona

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LAS VEGAS (AP) Elgin Cook scored 22 points and No. 8 Oregon survived a wild closing sequence in regulation to beat No. 15 Arizona 95-89 in overtime Friday night in the Pac-12 semifinals.

Oregon (27-6) led by 17 early in the second half, but Arizona (25-8) charged back and tied it in improbable fashion.

Oregon’s Chris Boucher missed two free throws with 12 seconds left, and Arizona’s Gabe York followed with a 3-pointer after gathering a rebound. Mark Tollefsen stole the inbound pass and was fouled, but hit just 1 of 2 free throws to send the game to overtime.

The Ducks dominated overtime, going up six on 3-pointers by Dwayne Benjamin and Dillon Brooks to earn a spot in Saturday night’s championship game against No. 24 California or No. 12 Utah.

Tyler Dorsey had 19 points and Brooks 17 for the Ducks, who had 11 blocked shots and 10 steals.

No. 15 Arizona holds on to beat Colorado 82-78 at Pac-12

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LAS VEGAS (AP) Arizona played a near-flawless first half, pouring in shots, shutting Colorado down, threatening to turn the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal into a blowout.

The momentum shifted dramatically in the second half as the Wildcats let up and the Buffaloes erased nearly all of a 22-point deficit.

The Wildcats held on to move on to the semifinals, but it was much harder than it needed to be.

Allonzo Trier scored 23 points, Ryan Anderson had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 15 Arizona held off Colorado 82-78 on Thursday.

“I guess if you’re the coach, you can look at it this way: Hey, everything’s fine. We’re in the semifinals against Oregon. Awesome job. We advanced. A lot of teams would have loved to,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “Or you can really say our effort level is as bad as I’ve ever seen in the last 20 minutes. I choose to focus on the second one.”

Arizona (25-7) has been plagued by inconsistency, only playing well for a half in many of its games.

Most games, the Wildcats struggle early and wear teams down late.

This time, they almost got run over.

Up 17 at halftime, Arizona watched as the Buffaloes raced past them for one offensive rebound after another – 25 in all – to chip away at the lead.

Colorado had the Wildcats on their heels and were within reach, pulling within two on George King’s 3-pointer with 3 seconds left.

Arizona managed to escape, pushing the lead to four on Gabe York’s two free throws, but will need to play a full game if it’s going to beat No. 8 Oregon in the semifinals Friday night.

“If you hold our team to the standards of the past at Arizona or you look at us as competing for this tournament’s championship, we’re not going to be able to advance and be the same team that we’ve been,” Miller said of his team only playing well for one half.

Colorado (22-11) clawed its way back from a huge hole by hitting the offensive glass, but couldn’t overcome its shaky shooting. The fifth-seeded Buffaloes shot 34 percent and made 5 of 19 from 3-point range, leaving their NCAA Tournament fate in the hands of the selection committee.

King had 22 points, and Josh Scott finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds for Colorado, which had 26 second-chance points.

“The one thing about our team is there is no give-up,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “They’ve got tremendous fight, tremendous resolve and I’m really proud of the comeback that we staged to get ourselves back in the game.”

Colorado opened the tournament with a dominating performance, beating Washington State 80-56 behind King’s 21-point night.

That earned the Buffaloes a shot at the Wildcats, who were itching for a rematch after losing in Boulder on Feb. 24.

Arizona rallied from a 10-point, second-half deficit in that game, but couldn’t make the plays down the stretch or stop Scott, who had a season-high 26 points.

The Wildcats turned the rematch into a rout from the opening tip.

Smothering the Buffaloes defensively, Arizona set up easy baskets in transition while opening with a 14-2 run, setting off a chant of “U of A!”

The Wildcats kept it rolling, building a 37-20 halftime lead York’s 11 points.

Colorado had more turnovers than field goals – nine to eight – and missed all six of its 3-point attempts.

“Our guys were down. They were disappointed,” Boyle said. “But, again, there is no quit in these guys. There wasn’t any question in my mind.”

He was right.

The Buffaloes found their rhythm a bit in the second half, gaining a surge a momentum midway through while cutting into Arizona’s lead.

Trier stemmed the tide briefly with a couple of athletic shots in transition, but Colorado fought back one more time, pulling to 64-57 on Scott’s three-point play with 5 minutes left.

The Buffaloes kept clawing back every time Arizona tried to pull away, but couldn’t make it all the way back, finishing just short.

TIP INS

Colorado: The Buffaloes had a 51-35 rebounding advantage. .. Colorado made 21 of 25 free throws.

Arizona: The Wildcats blocked 11 shots, including three by Anderson. … York finished with 15 points and Kadeem Allen had 12.

WHAT’S NEXT

Colorado has to wait until Sunday to find out if it will play in the NCAA Tournament.

Arizona faces No. 8 Oregon in the semifinals Friday night.

No. 18 Arizona uses late rally to beat No. 25 California

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While ranked within the top 20 of the national polls, No. 18 Arizona has a résumé that could use another quality victory when it comes to their NCAA tournament seeding. Add in the fact that they were swept on the road last week, and Thursday’s home game against No. 25 California was a critical contest for a team in need of some positive momentum.

It was a struggle for the Wildcats, but thanks to a game-ending 11-0 run sparked by senior guard Gabe York Arizona managed to pull out the 64-61 victory.

York, who didn’t score in the first half, racked up 19 points in the second half and hit three three-pointers during the decisive run. As a team Arizona shot 50 percent from the field in the second half, with York’s improved scoring serving as the spark the team needed offensively. And against a team that even with its recent hot streak remains a bit of a question mark away from Berkeley, that proved to be enough in the end.

However, the rebounding effort (or lack thereof) put forth by Arizona nearly cost them the game.

Arizona’s first-shot defense was very good, as Cal shot just 36.5 percent from the field on the night. But where the Golden Bears, most notably freshman Ivan Rabb, were able to get their points was on the offensive glass. Cal rebounded 47.4 percent of its available missed shots, converting 18 offensive rebounds into 28 second-chance points.

Arizona’s been one of the nation’s best on the defensive glass this season, but that wasn’t the case against a team that entered the game ranked eighth in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounding percentage. Add in stretches in both halves in which the ball seemed to stick and the player movement stalled offensively, and Arizona wasn’t at their best on this night.

Some nights it’s about finding a way to win even when things aren’t working as planned, and Arizona managed to do that Thursday night. But if Arizona is to have a shot at playing deep into the NCAA tournament, they’ll need to be more consistent than they’ve been in recent games.

No. 17 Arizona beats No. 23 USC, moves into tie atop Pac-12

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri
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Following a home loss to No. 11 Oregon January 28, a game in which their 49-game home win streak came to an end, No. 17 Arizona looked nothing like a team capable of winning a third consecutive Pac-12 title. But at the time they were playing without the injured Allonzo Trier, and since that defeat the Wildcats have won five straight games. Their most recent result was an 86-78 home win over No. 23 USC Sunday night, a result that moved Sean Miller’s team into a tie for first place in the Pac-12 with Oregon.

But while the game did show reasons why Arizona is more than capable of taking yet another Pac-12 title, it also showed the inconsistency that the Wildcats have fought to address throughout the season.

Arizona got off to a great start offensively against USC, getting just about whatever they wanted around the basket as they built a lead that reached 19 points late in the first half. Ryan Anderson made his first three shot attempts, with all three coming at the rim, and dribble penetration was working as well. But presented with the opportunity to land a decisive blow to start the second half, Arizona got complacent and that opened the door for a USC comeback.

The Wildcats settled for perimeter shots, and while some credit should be given to USC for their improved defense Arizona made things easier on the Trojans than they needed to be. Arizona has capable three-point shooters, with senior guard Gabe York being the best of the bunch. But when faced with a clear advantage on the offensive end of the floor they lost some discipline early in the second half, settling for contested looks as opposed to looking to the post feeds and dribble drives that were so successful at the game’s start.

“Coach always emphasizes that we get the ball inside early, try to get fouls on the other bigs, try to set the tone that way. For the most part, all year [the guards] have done a great job of starting the game that way,” Anderson said after the game. “And then once they start double-teaming, Parker, Gabe, Allonzo starting getting wide open shots and the game starts flowing for us. I thought that in the first half we were really flowing on offense and defense; we’ve just got to carry that over to the second half a lot better.”

USC managed to trim Arizona’s lead to two points but they were unable to get over the hump. Bennie Boatwright scored ten of his team-high 18 points in the second half, and both Jordan McLaughlin (11 second-half points) and Elijah Stewart (ten) were more productive in the second stanza as well. Arizona got back to attacking the paint offensively late, and with USC missing a couple opportunities to either tie the game or take the lead the Wildcats managed to put the game away.

York led four Wildcats in double figures with 17 points, and as a team Arizona shot 50 percent from the field and better than 56 percent inside of the arc on the night.

Arizona won’t get another shot at Oregon, but with five games remaining they’re in position to win another Pac-12 title. And as long as they look to take advantage of the areas in which they’re most successful, getting Anderson looks in the post and using dribble penetration from the likes of Trier, they’re more than capable of accomplishing that goal.

Arizona got away from that plan of attack early in the second half Sunday night, but managed to get back to what worked in closing the game out.

Anderson leads No. 23 Arizona to 79-64 win over Cougars

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PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Ryan Anderson scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead No. 23 Arizona to a 79-64 victory over Washington State on Wednesday night.

Gabe York added 14 points and Mark Tollefsen had 12 for the Wildcats (18-5, 6-4 Pac-12).

Ike Iroegbu led Washington State (9-13, 1-9) with 20 points. Josh Hawkinson added 14 points and 17 rebounds for the last-place Cougars, who have lost eight straight.

Anderson, a senior transfer from Boston College, was 10 of 16 from the field and 11 of 17 from the free throw line. Anderson helped limit Washington State to 34.9 percent shooting from the field. The Cougars came into the game shooting 47.9 percent.

Arizona led 39-30 at halftime. The Wildcats missed 12 of their first 15 shots before hitting 12 of 19 the remainder of the opening half.

The Wildcats held a 29-28 lead before outscoring the Cougars 10-2 over the final 3:17 of the first half. Tollefsen made two 3-pointers during Arizona’s late run.

Arizona built a 59-42 lead before the Cougars briefly pulled within eight by making an 11-2 run midway through the second half.

TIP-INS

Arizona: Sophomore point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright made his first college start when regular starter Kadeem Allen became ill. Allen played 7 minutes and fouled out after scoring two points. Standout freshman guard Allonzo Trier missed a seventh game with a hand fracture. The Wildcats hope Trier can play Saturday against Washington in his hometown of Seattle.

Washington State: Wednesday’s loss assured the Cougars of a non-winning record in conference play for the 19th time in 21 years. The stretch began with a 9-9 mark in 1995-96. The current streak of eight non-winning conference seasons includes a 9-9 showing in 2010-11. Washington State has not finished above .500 overall since a six-year run of winning seasons ended in 2011-12.

UP NEXT

Arizona visits Washington on Saturday.

Washington State hosts Arizona State on Saturday.

Arizona uses late run, beats Stanford for 12th straight time

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STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Gabe York made a long 3-pointer with 8:24 left on the way to 19 points, and No. 12 Arizona survived a Stanford rally midway through the second half for a 71-57 victory Thursday night.

Ryan Anderson added 18 points on 7-for-7 shooting and eight rebounds for the Wildcats (16-3, 4-2 Pac-12) in their 12th straight win against the Cardinal dating to a loss on Jan. 4, 2009.

Arizona’s Kadeem Allen went down in the corner by his team’s bench with 10:55 left then briefly left for the locker room before returning.

Grant Verhoeven provided a big lift in the second half for Stanford (10-7, 3-3), but the Cardinal went cold when it counted as Arizona pulled away for good.

Verhoeven’s three-point play with 15:35 remaining pulled Stanford within 39-37, then he converted another three-point play at 14:19 before a pair of missed free throws by Kaleb Tarczewski. Verhoeven took a charge at 13:20.

Stanford then made just two of its next 14 field-goal tries and went nearly 9 minutes between baskets.

Wildcats coach Sean Miller won his 299th game and could reach 300 victories Saturday night against California in Berkeley.

Arizona, the two-time defending Pac-12 champion picked to win again, has won three in a row since a 103-101 four-overtime loss at USC on Jan. 9.

Arizona’s 12 straight wins in the series mark the program’s longest active winning streak in the conference against any opponent – but the previous two games on Stanford’s home floor in Maples Pavilion were decided by 10 total points.

Two years ago and ranked No. 1, Arizona escaped with a 60-57 win, then an 89-82 victory by the seventh-ranked Wildcats last January.

Marcus Sheffield scored 17 points for the Cardinal, coming off a 77-71 win against Bay Area rival Cal on Thursday. They faced a team either ranked or receiving votes in the AP poll for the fifth time in six games and shot 4 for 21 from 3-point range.

Arizona’s Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who had two big games in sweeping the Washington schools last weekend with 13 total points and 18 assists, was limited to no points and three assists.

The Cardinal began the game 1 for 8 to fall behind 12-4 but Arizona had an offensive drought of its own missing nine of 10 shots during a stretch late in the half as the Cardinal stayed within 31-30 at the break.

TIP-INS

Arizona: The Wildcats committed nine first-half turnovers but outrebounded Stanford 42-29. … Miller is 11-0 against Stanford and 50-18 against universities from the state of California, with the Wildcats winning 13 of their last 19 games in California in the regular season and NCAA tournament.

Stanford: Jim Plunkett, Stanford’s only Heisman Trophy winner, sat courtside next to fellow quarterback and two-time Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. … The Cardinal are 12-22 against ranked opponents under eighth-year coach Johnny Dawkins. Arizona was the second-highest ranked team Stanford faced after a loss to No. 8 Villanova in November. The Cardinal beat No. 21 Utah 70-68 in overtime at home Jan. 1.

UP NEXT

Arizona: At California on Saturday.

Stanford: Host Arizona State on Saturday.