Arizona Basketball

Top-ranked Arizona Wildcats beat USC, break school record with 17-0 start


[ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]

T.J. McConnell celebrates one of his three three-pointers in the first half in Arizona's victory over USC Sunday night (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

T.J. McConnell celebrates one of his three three-pointers in the first half in Arizona’s victory over USC Sunday night (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

Arizona showed the resolve of a No. 1 team, weathering a sluggish first half and a feisty USC team Sunday night to beat the Trojans 73-53 and notch the best start in the 109-year program.

The Wildcats’ 17-0 start tops the 16-0 mark achieved by the 1931-32 team coached by Fred Enke Sr.

“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing in practice,” Arizona point guard T.J. McConnell told the Pac-12 Networks when asked how Arizona will maintain its edge against ASU on Thursday at McKale Center. “We have to take it one step at a time and that starts with practice.”

The victory is also Arizona’s eighth consecutive triumph as the top-ranked team, the longest such winning streak as the No. 1 team in the Wildcats’ history. Sean Miller’s team will tie the program’s longest stretch of six weeks as the No. 1-rated team Monday morning. The 2002-03 team coached by Lute Olson started the first six weeks of that season ranked No. 1.

USC dared Arizona to shoot from the perimeter with a 2-3 zone and McConnell made the Trojans pay. McConnell made three three-pointers in the first half, which was crucial because USC led 27-23 with 4:52 left before halftime.

McConnell was only 8 of 30 from three-point range overall and 0 for 7 in Pac-12 competition entering the game. He made all three of his attempts in the first half, one of which was part of an 11-0 run that put Arizona up 34-27 with 1:04 left before halftime. The Wildcats did not trail thereafter but USC did not go away until the last couple of minutes.

The Trojans cut the lead to 48-43 with 9:20 left in the game. Arizona responded with an 18-6 burst that included two more three-pointers by McConnell, a Duquesne transfer who finished with a season-high 19 points.

“My teammates found me and I finally made some (three-pointers),” McConnell told the Pac-12 Networks.

Arizona junior forward Brandon Ashley also posted a season-best 19 points.

Arizona also improves to 4-0 in the Pac-12. USC, outscored 39-22 in the second half, drops to 9-7 and 0-3.


[ezcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]

[table “” not found /]

[table “” not found /]

[/ezcol_1half_end] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and


To Top