After an unspectacular run of games that saw the Arizona Wildcats drop their first game of the season and lose forward Brandon Ashley for the year, it was starting to look like they may have fallen from the country’s elite.
But No. 2 Arizona put together its best game in nearly a month on Sunday, running away from Oregon State en route to a 76-54 win in McKale Center — showing it hasn’t lost the ability to dominate lesser teams.
Freshman forward Aaron Gordon appeared to regain the form that had him regarded as one of the nation’s top incoming recruits, fellow freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tallied a career-high in scoring for the second straight game and the Wildcats (23-1, 10-1 Pac-12) held the conference’s leading scorer to 10 points on 25 percent shooting.
Here’s a closer look at the win, by the numbers:
Four Wildcat starters scored in double digits, with Kaleb Tarczewski scoring eight points on 4-of-6 shooting. Junior guard Nick Johnson scored 10, T.J. McConnell had 11, Hollis-Jefferson had 16 and Gordon scored a game-high 17.
Arizona’s Jordin Mayes tallied a season-high nine points, going 1-for-2 from 2-point range and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Mayes was a key cog of the UA team that made an Elite Eight run in 2011, but has seeing his playing time dwindle to almost zero as a senior.
The Pac-12 Conference’s leading scorer, Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson, was held to just 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting. Nelson, who averages 22 points per game this season, was largely guarded by the UA’s Nick Johnson.
Arizona held a 15-rebound edge over Oregon State, including a whopping 15-4 edge on the offensive glass.
Hollis-Jefferson set a career-high in points for the second consecutive game, scoring 16 against the Beavers just three days after setting a career high with 14 against Oregon.
Gordon led the way for Arizona with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting after struggling mightily on the offensive end over the last few weeks of play.
The UA has won 19 straight home games dating back to Feb. 10, 2013 loss to Cal — good for the longest active streak in the Pac-12 Conference.