ANAHEIM, Calif. — Arizona’s long nightmare in a city known as the happiest place on Earth is over.
The 11th-ranked Wildcats finally won at Honda Center in Anaheim, beating Boise State 68-59 in the third-place game of the DirecTV Wooden Legacy on Sunday.
Of course, this event wasn’t nearly as prestigious as the NCAA Tournament — Arizona has lost in all four West Regional title games they’ve played in this same arena, just down the road from Disneyland.
“It’s nice to come to the Honda Center and leave with a victory,” said Wildcats coach Sean Miller, who wasn’t just piling on platitudes. He presided over two of those defeats, while Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson was in charge for the other two.
Allonzo Trier and Kadeem Allen scored 13 points each to lead five Wildcats in double figures on a day when injured starting center Kaleb Tarczewski missed his second straight game. Ryan Anderson added 11 points and seven rebounds, and Gabe York and Mark Tollefsen added 10 points each.
With Tarczewski in the post, Anderson and Allen had seven rebounds each, and Tollefsen and Dusan Ristic had five apiece to help the Wildcats (6-1).
Arizona was upset by Providence 69-65 in the semifinals Friday after narrowly escaping with a 75-73 overtime win against winless Santa Clara on Thursday in the three-day event.
“When you lose a hard-fought game like we did against Providence, a lot of times that carries over. These guys did a great job of putting that game behind us,” Miller said. “This was our best defensive performance of the year. We had some guys really, really step up on defense.”
The Wildcats held Boise State (3-4) to 40 percent shooting, controlled the paint and had a higher-scoring bench despite committing 17 turnovers. They had a season-high 21 in the loss to Providence.
“We’re not where we were a year ago,” Miller said.
James Webb III led the Broncos with 17 points and Nick Duncan added 10 before he fouled out late in the second meeting between the teams in 10 days. The Wildcats also beat the Broncos in Tucson, Arizona.
“It’s a Boise team that’s trying to find its identity,” coach Leon Rice said. “We don’t have enough guys stepping up and taking a role and figuring out what their role has to be.”
Boise State rallied from 19 points down to get to 62-56 on a 3-pointer by Lonnie Jackson. It capped a 9-0 run that included six made free throws.
Twice more the Broncos cut their deficit to six, but Trier dunked and Allen hit a 3-pointer to close out the victory.
“We had too many mental lapses and let teams explode on us,” Rice said.
Both teams were plagued by foul trouble. Anderson and Tollefsen each fouled out for Arizona and Elliott Pitts had four fouls. Boise State lost Duncan, and Webb, Jackson and Anthony Drmic each had four fouls.
Jackson and Duncan each hit 3-pointers for Boise State during Arizona’s 22-12 run that gave the Wildcats their largest lead, 57-38. Seven different Arizona players scored in the run.
The Wildcats trailed by one before they closed the half on a 16-6 run to lead 35-26 at the break, their largest margin in the opening 20 minutes. Seven different Arizona players scored, with Trier leading the way with seven. The Broncos never led by more than three.
Boise State: The Broncos lost 88-76 in the teams’ earlier matchup. … Webb had a game-high 27 points and Duncan added 21 in that first encounter.
Arizona: The Wildcats had 17 turnovers. They outscored Boise State in the paint 40-24. … It was the first time since 2000-01 that the Wildcats faced the same opponent twice in the same nonconference season. … Arizona improved to 34-12 in games following a loss under Miller.
Miller said Tarzcewski will have a MRI when the team returns to Tucson. The senior is on track to become the winningest player in school history. He’s known for his durability, playing 35 games in each of his first two seasons and 37 last season.
“We have our fingers crossed it’s more tendon and ligament than anything structurally,” Miller said. “He had almost the identical situation in his other ankle. We’re used to having him around. The soonest we could have him is Friday.”
Arizona: Plays at No. 10 Gonzaga on Saturday.
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