Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats turn up heat on defense, beat Stanford 12th straight time



Sean Miller’s encouraging comments about his team’s defense following a 71-57 win at Stanford are a 180-degree turn from how he spoke following the loss at UCLA two weeks previously (YouTube video)

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Two weeks after Sean Miller said after a loss at UCLA that this was his worst defensive team since his first season, he lauded his team’s effort in the Wildcats’ shutdown of Stanford in a 71-57 win at Maples Pavilion on Thursday night:

“It was our best defensive game of the season,” Miller told veteran radio play-by-play man Brian Jeffries in his postgame interview. “Our defense tonight, across the board, was very good. We had a game plan of keeping their drives away and keep them off the line.”

Stanford lost its 12th straight game to Arizona, including six consecutively to the Wildcats at Maples Pavilion, shooting only 30.6 percent from the field, including 4 of 21 from three-point range. Stanford managed to go to the free-throw line 20 times, making 15 of the attempts. The Cardinal averaged 27.5 free-throw attempts entering the game.

Arizona (16-3 overall, 4-2 in the Pac-12) had only six offensive rebounds (none at halftime), was outscored 25-4 by Stanford’s reserves and committed 16 turnovers. That normally spells doom, especially on the road. Things could have become tense when the Cardinal (10-7, 3-3) took their first lead of the game, 40-39, with 14:19 left in the game.

That’s when senior guard Gabe York said he turned to his teammates and told them to ride his back.


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WIN NO. 1: Xavier over Oakland, 69-58, Nov. 19, 2004, Cintas Center, Cincinnati.

WIN NO. 50: Xavier over Fordham, 71-56, Jan. 11, 2007, Rose Hill Gym, The Bronx, N.Y.

WIN NO. 100: Xavier over Auburn, 81-74, Dec. 3, 2008, Cintas Center, Cincinnati

WIN NO. 150: Arizona over Stanford, 67-57, Jan. 9, 2011, McKale Center, Tucson

WIN NO. 200: Arizona over Miami, 69-50, Dec. 23, 2012, Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu

WIN NO. 250: Arizona over Mount St. Mary’s, 78-55, Nov. 14, 2014, McKale Center, Tucson


“I told our team, ‘I got us. I got all of us,'” York told the Pac-12 Networks’ Cindy Brunson in a postgame interview.

York helped fuel a 12-0 run, capping it with a three-pointer with 8:28 left to give the Wildcats a 51-40 lead. It was fitting that York and fellow seniors Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were the only scorers in that game-turning stretch. York and Anderson each had five points and Tarczewski converted one of Arizona’s few putbacks after a missed shot.

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The seniors, including Mark Tollefsen in his homecoming to the Bay area, combined for 58 points on 18-of-32 shooting from the field and 16-of-21 from the free-throw line. The rest of the team scored 13 points while shooting 4-of-14 from the field.

Arizona is now 8-0 with Tollefsen in the starting lineup. The former San Francisco standout had 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots.

York’s four three-pointers in the game increased his career total to 179. He passed Miles Simon (176) for ninth place on the Arizona career charts. His three-point shooting accentuates how Arizona as a team has shot from beyond the arc in the last three games, making 26 of 49 from that range.

Tarczewski had 11 points and seven rebounds. He made seven of his nine free-throw attempts to improve his season percentage at the stripe to 76.7 percent. He also had three blocked shots.


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Anderson awoke from a 1-of-1 start in the first half to finish with 18 points while making all seven of his shots. He grabbed eight rebounds. Before his outburst in the second half, Anderson was a combined 11-of-23 from the field against Stanford in the first half and against ASU, UCLA and USC in the three previous Pac-12 road games combined.

Anderson also played a part defensively in taking Stanford leading scorer Rosco Allen out of his game. Allen finished with only seven points on 1-of-12 shooting, including 1-of-7 from three-point range. He didn’t make his first field goal until 5:02 was left in the game.

“He was on it,” Miller told Jeffries about Anderson. “He understood what was at stake and he delivered.”

Miller improved to 299-102 in his 12 years as a head coach. He will go for career win number 300 against Cal on Saturday. The Golden Bears host the Wildcats at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN. 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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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