Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats’ win at No. 3 UCLA one of five best regular-season road wins in program history


Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller has won three of his last four games against ranked opponents in true road games in the regular season dating to 2014-15.

Nothing compares to the value of today’s 96-85 victory over No. 3 UCLA in front of a capacity crowd at Pauley Pavilion on a day Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was honored.

Never before had Miller defeated a top 10 opponent in a true road game (other victories have occurred at neutral sites). Arizona had not defeated a top 10 team on the road in 11 seasons, since the Lute Olson-coached Wildcats beat No. 7 Washington in double-overtime on Dec. 31, 2005.

Miller’s previous victories on the road against ranked teams occurred one time in each of the last two seasons:

— No. 13 Utah, 63-57 on Feb. 27, 2015

— No. 15 Gonzaga, 68-63 on Dec. 5, 2015

He lost his first three road games against ranked teams at Arizona — 87-65 against No. 18 BYU in Salt Lake City (qualifies for true road game) on Dec. 11, 2010; 85-68 against No. 20 Washington on Jan. 20, 2011; and 78-72 in overtime against Florida on Dec. 27, 2011. He also lost at No. 22 Utah 70-64 last season.

With UCLA’s lofty ranking and the national media anointing the high-scoring Bruins as a Final Four team, today’s victory is Miller’s best overall at Arizona in the regular season.

Arizona now has 10 wins in true road games against opponents ranked in the top 10. The list:

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Using the rankings as the barometer, the win over UCLA is one of the top three or four in the program’s history following the wins over No. 1 Stanford in consecutive seasons (1999-2000 and 2000-2001) at Maples Pavilion.

In one of Arizona’s most memorable wins, Olson returned on Dec. 12, 1987 to Iowa City (where he coached for nine seasons) and the Wildcats defeated No. 3 Iowa 66-59.

Rounding out the top five wins for Arizona on the road against ranked teams is the 93-75 victory over No. 4 Stanford on Jan. 29, 1998, at Maples Pavilion.

One of the most memorable individual performances in a win on the road against a top 10 opponent was Salim Stoudamire’s 32 points in the 91-74 victory over No. 6 Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., on Jan. 25, 2003.

The Wildcats outscored the Jayhawks by 30 points in the second half of that game.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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