Revenge was sweet, albeit ugly at times, for the Arizona Wildcats.
Led by its suffocating defense and an outstanding all-around effort by T.J. McConnell, the No. 6 Wildcats won their sixth straight game and avenged their only conference loss of the season with a 57-34 thumping of Oregon State on Friday in Tucson.
McConnell stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, eight steals, six assists, four rebounds and just one turnover. Brandon Ashley led all scorers with 12 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 11 for Arizona (20-2, 8-1 Pac-12), which will have eight days to rest before its matchup at Arizona State next Saturday.
Oregon State (14-7, 5-4), which upset the Wildcats 58-56 in Corvallis three weeks ago, didn’t have a single player score more than eight points.
Arizona closed out the first half with an 11-0 run to take a 24-13 advantage into halftime. The Wildcats held Oregon State scoreless in the final 7:45 of the half.
The Beavers closed the gap to 24-17 early in the second half, but six consecutive points by Elliott Pitts pushed UA’s lead to 13 with under 15 minutes to play.
The Wildcats didn’t have a stellar offensive evening — they shot just 40.8 percent (20-of-49) from the floor and committed 16 turnovers. But UA’s defense, which yielded 38 second-half points in its Jan. 11 loss at Oregon State, held firm for a full 40 minutes Friday.
Arizona overcame the absence of backup point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who missed his first game of the season with a concussion.
Here’s a closer look at how the Wildcats got some payback Friday, by the numbers:
Oregon State guard Langston Morris-Walker had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and eight rebounds in the Beavers’ win over UA in Corvallis. On Friday, the Wildcats held Morris-Walker scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting, with just two boards.
McConnell set the tone on defense with five first-half steals. (Oregon State had two steals as a team in the half.) The Wildcats forced 11 turnovers in the first half and 17 for the game.
The red-hot Stanley Johnson cooled off a bit Friday. The freshman forward averaged 17.8 points in UA’s previous five games but was limited to eight points on 3-of-10 shooting against Oregon State. He did haul in a game-high eight rebounds.
The Wildcats had plenty of second-chance opportunities Friday, grabbing 12 offensive rebounds for the game. They out-rebounded Oregon State 37-27 overall.
Oregon State shot 51.3 percent (20-of-39) from the field in its Jan. 11 win over UA, but the Wildcats limited the Beavers to 28.6 percent (14-of-49) shooting Friday, the worst field-goal percentage of any UA opponent this season.
With the victory, the Wildcats extended their home winning streak to 34 games, the second-longest active streak in the nation.