TUCSON, Ariz.- No. 3/3 Arizona led wire-to-wire in a 79-66 victory over Stanford on Sunday night, as the Cardinal suffered back-to-back losses for only the second time this year.
Stanford (18-10, 9-7 Pac-12) received a double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds from Josh Huestis while Anthony Brown pitched in with 14 points. It was the seventh double-double of the year for Huestis and third in as many games against Arizona.
Arizona (27-2, 14-2 Pac-12) was led by Aaron Gordon’s 19 points and 15 rebounds, as the Wildcats held a 40-31 rebounding edge and connected on 21-29 from the foul line.
The game was a sharp contrast from the first meeting at Maples on Jan. 29, when Arizona escaped with a hard-fought 60-57 victory after Stanford was unable to survive a lengthy second-half scoring drought.
On Sunday, the Wildcats jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
After consecutive dunks by Gordon, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson knocked down one of two free throws to extend Arizona’s lead to 13-4. A bucket from Powell sliced the lead to 14-11, but Stanford never got that close again.
Chasson Randle scored the final five points of the half on a jumper and a three-pointer from the corner, cutting it to 41-28 at the break.
Stanford used a 19-5 scoring run late in the game to creep within 73-62 following a dunk by Huestis with 2:45 left.
The Cardinal returns home to face Colorado (Wednesday, March 5) and Utah (Saturday, March 8) to close out the regular season.
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NOTES: Stanford has lost nine in a row to Arizona … The Cardinal is 3-2 against top-25 teams this year and 7-15 all-time in such games under head coach Johnny Dawkins … Stanford lost for the first time in six Sunday games. The Cardinal had won nine Sunday games in a row dating back to Nov. 18, 2012 in a 70-62 loss to Belmont … Stanford was swept on the road for the first time this year. The Cardinal had recorded three splits prior to tonight, losing the first game and winning the second game in each instance … Stanford finished 18-21 from the foul line and is shooting 70.3 percent this year … Chasson Randle added 12 points on 4-8 shooting. In the first meeting, he scored 12 points on 3-15 shooting … Stanford committed eight of its 10 turnovers in the first half … Marcus Allen (1-4 FG) and John Gage (2-2 FT) accounted for the only bench scoring … Verne Harris went out with an apparent hamstring injury with 16:24 to play, leaving the game with two officials.
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Stanford Head Coach Johnny Dawkins
“It was tough. Arizona has experienced players out there with [T.J.] McConnell and [Nick] Johnson who have been through a lot and know how to play with a lead. They’re poised, they don’t rush, they get good shots, and they’ve been an outstanding defensive team all year. They had a great environment and they played very well. They got off to a fast start and were able to maintain that throughout the game.”
“Those two teams are playing well. You can’t take anything away from what they’ve done and what they’re accomplishing. It was a tough road trip for us against two very good teams. Our guys kept competing and never quit but we got down by a large margin. I thought we fought all the way to the end in both games but unfortunately we came up short.”
“Our guys tried to make plays defensively. Those guys are just really quick. They beat us to the 50-50 balls. They hurt us with offensive rebounds. Josh did a great job rebounding and scoring for us. I was really proud of his effort. “We just have to take it one game at a time. Hopefully we’re doing that and putting ourselves in a position to finish as high as we possibly can.”
“Arizona is a big, physical team. They can push you under the boards at times. We’re pretty big ourselves but foul trouble hurt us a little bit. They’re playing with a lot of confidence and they’re playing well together.”
“Arizona has athletic, strong guys that go to the boards every time. It’s a tough assignment to beat them but it’s something we have the capability of doing, we just didn’t do it tonight. We came off a good game against UCLA but we came down to Arizona and struggled. I have no doubt that when we go home and get back in the gym, we will find a way to get back on track.”
“Any game we go into, Dwight (Powell) is going to be the guy the other team keys in on. Tonight, they forced him to take tough shots and we really played into their style of basketball. Hats off to Arizona, they did a great job on defense.”
“We definitely considered the atmosphere that Arizona would have tonight. It’s their last home game and Senior Night, so we knew they were going to be excited.”
“Going on the road, you have to pick it up. When we’re on the road and go down 10 points, we have to stay composed. Now we have to go home and regroup and prepare for our next games.”
Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller
“I think winning a national championship or getting to a Final Four is self-explanatory. I don’t think in college basketball that enough credit is given to how difficult it is to win a regular season championship. If you think about the hostile environments that we’ve played in front of and how long the season is, winning the regular season championship is not something that we take lightly.”
“We came out ready to go. You never know how the game might go with so much at stake like today. Jordin Mayes did an outstanding job in both halves. He defended and kept us in rhythm. He took what the defense gave him. Our back court, Nick (Johnson) and T.J. (McConnell) really imposed their will on offense and defense. They have a confidence about them and as the season has gone on I think that confidence has continued to grow.”
“Part of the agreement that we had with our team and staff is the reason that we cut the net tonight, was so that we could celebrate the championship with our fans. In reality, we have two games left. We have a trust that next week that we won’t beat ourselves. We are going to play hard and try to be our best in how we practice. We’ll be fine. It’s going to be a tough challenge. We’ll prepare for a couple days and then go there ready to play basketball.”
“This was one of our three goals we set this year. They were winning the regular season, the Pac-12 Tournament and the national championship. The season isn’t over yet though. We still have two games left, and right now we’re trying to play for a seed and for ourselves. We want to go down in Arizona history as one of the best teams ever.”
“McKale is a great place. It’s been really good to me in my years here. I really believe that we have the best fans in the country. It’s been a great experience for me, but I’m not thinking about that right now.”