Arizona holds off Stanford to reach Pac-12 Tournament semis
Mar 10, 2022, 3:15 PM | Updated: 8:17 pm
(AP Photo/John Locher)
The No. 2 Arizona Wildcats held off the Stanford Cardinal with an 84-80 win in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday to advance to the next round in Las Vegas.
With the win, the Wildcats (29-3) will await the winner of No. 4 Colorado and No. 5 Oregon at 7 p.m. on Friday. That game will air on Pac-12 Networks.
Stanford, which used a buzzer-beater against Arizona State to advance a day prior, shot the lights out for the game, hitting 54% from the field and going 11-of-20 from three.
Junior forward Spencer Jones was at the heart of the efficient day for the Cardinal. He led all scorers with 28, shooting 12-of-18 overall with four three-point makes.
The Wildcats kept pace despite the less-than-ideal defensive effort behind their two best players.
“It was good to get tested today,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd told reporters postgame. “Obviously, Stanford gave us everything we wanted and then some. I love this time of year. I love coaching in these games. They mean a lot. You’ve got to win or go home.”
Center Christian Koloko led the team with 24 points and nine rebounds, adding four assists. Wing Bennedict Mathurin scored 20.
“We have a young team, so we need to have those kind of games to get ready for what’s next for us,” Koloko told reporters postgame.
Fellow big man Azuolas Tubelis added nine points with seven rebounds and five assists.
The Cardinal led as late as the 3:18 minute mark, when a dunk by a cutting Mathurin put Arizona ahead 76-75.
Koloko took control on the glass late, grabbing two defensive rebounds in the last three minutes and scoring a putback on an offensive board.
There was one bit of bad news in the victory for the No. 2-ranked Wildcats, who were likely locked into a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament even with a defeat. The team lost starting point guard Kerr Kriisa to what looked like a sprained ankle in the final minute of play.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.