Let’s see, Arizona by the numbers: 18-0, 15-0 and 3-0.
Oh, oh, oh – my.
Arizona’s 75-70 win over Stanford win has Arizona partying like it’s 2009 given that’s when the streak of 18 consecutive victories over Stanford started for Arizona.
For Arizona coach Sean Miller, it’s 15 consecutive wins over the Cardinal, but more importantly Arizona is now 3-0 in the Pac-12 Conference.
It wasn’t pretty – and we likely will continue to say that throughout the season – but it was a victory for the scrappy Cats.
Behind sophomore Ira Lee – take a breathe and think about that for a moment … … – Arizona beat the Cardinal down the stretch to stay undefeated in conference play. It moved its record to 15-4 overall.
Next up is California on Saturday night.
But first, Arizona will enjoy its deep-into-the-night win over Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif.
Lee, who played like a bull in a China shop in the first few moments in picking up three early fouls, played with a bit more finesse in the second half. In the final critical moments, Lee had four points and had an important rebound to secure Arizona’s win. Lee all but had to come through as did others in as much as UA starting center Chase Jeter played just 19 minutes after fouling out.
IRA LEE IS HAVING THE GREATEST FOUL TROUBLE GAME IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL HISTORY
Lee finished with a career-high 12 points, two of which came on key free throws in the final minutes.
“Ira did a great job tonight,” said UA assistant coach Justin Gainey, who spoke for Sean Miller on his postgame radio show. “The last five games he’s been coming (on) and it’s a tribute to how hard he works every day. He’s added pieces to his game every day. He’s been working and working and working. I’m glad to see it.”
Lee had help – although it came it doses. Sophomore Brandon Randolph had 15 points, but shot just 4 for 15. And three others scored in double figures with Jeter finishing with 10 points and Brandon Williams added 12.
Arizona’s defense was just good enough for the win.
As was the bench. Ryan Luther, now coming off the bench, had 10 points and Dylan Smith had three. In total it had 25 total from the bench.
“He like Ira,” Gainey said, of Luther, “are putting in the extra time. He’s working on his shot and his confidence is growing every day. It was good to see him be confident and aggressive. Nine shots are good for him. I’m happy for him.”
Arizona survived foul trouble all night given Jeter’s troubles, Lee’s troubles and everyone else’s troubles as everyone had two or more fouls deep into the first half.
But Arizona found a way. One was because Stanford couldn’t hit free throws in the first half and for the game. It finished going 15 for 26. And, Arizona shot well from beyond the 3-point line. Arizona went 7 for 12 from the half-moon line with Williams hitting two big threes early that Gainey said “gave us confidence.”
“It was (like) hey, this is going to be a good night and we’re going to make shots,” Gainey said of Williams 3-point makes. “He got us off to a great start with his energy.”
Through it all, Arizona also survived after seeing senior guard Justin Coleman go down with another apparent shoulder injury late in the game. He was fouled intentionally and went down when fouled. In stepped Lee to shoot his foul shots to help save the game. Coleman returned briefly to help inbound the ball with seconds left but was seen favoring the shoulder. Gainey said he feels Coleman will be fine and that it’s good UA has an extra day in between games with California on Saturday.