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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 11 Arizona survives and advances past Santa Clara 75-73

Tyler Baker

Mark Tollefsen (23) shoots over a defender during the first half of the exhibition game between Arizona and Chico State in McKale Center on Sunday, Nov. 8. Tollefsen started and played 23 minutes in the Wildcats’ 90-54 victory.

FULLERTON, Calif. —  In what was expected to be an easy victory over a winless Santa Clara foe, Arizona men’s basketball needed overtime to pull out a 75-73 victory over the Broncos on the opening night of the Wooden Legacy.

Gabe York hit a late second free throw in overtime to put the Wildcats ahead, Santa Clara turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, and the UA escaped with its sixth win of the season. Santa Clara drops to 0-6.

“Tonight I think we got a heavy dose of a lot of lessons and a lot of things that are going to help us move forward,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said.

York struggled to score all night, but in overtime he came up big, delivering seven of Arizona’s 10 points in the five-minute period. The other three came from Ryan Anderson.

Anderson, who missed Arizona’s last game with an ankle injury, scored a team high 17 points to go with 11 rebounds. The Wildcats received another 13 points from Mark Tollefsen and 12 from Kaleb Tarczewski.

But late in the second half, Tarczewski injured his left ankle and did not return. The 7-footer was seen icing his ankle during overtime.

“[He] has been injured his entire time here his senior year,” Miller said. “He has practiced maybe two weeks and been bothered by both ankles. I know he reinjured one tonight.”

Miller said he didn’t know the severity of Tarczewski’s injury.

The injury to Tarczewski added only another scare onto an anxiety-filled second half.

The Wildcats opened the half up seven points, but the margin soon shrunk to a one-possession game. With about eight minutes to play, Arizona led 58-57.

Santa Clara eventually tied the game when Jared Brownridge hit a three-point shot with 1:58 remaining. The junior guard finished the night with 44 points, breaking the tournament scoring record set by James Harden back in 2008.

A jumper from Anderson put the UA back on top by two, but Browridge re-tied the game with a pair of free throws.

With 10 seconds to go in regulation, Anderson had a chance to put Arizona ahead again. However, he missed a mid-range jumper.

On the ensuing rebound, Tollefsen fouled SCU’s Jarvis Pugh, sending Pugh to the line with seven seconds to go. Pugh delivered Arizona its biggest gift of the night by missing both free throws.

An errand York three-pointer as the regulation buzzer expired sent the game to overtime.

In the closing seconds of OT, York drove to the strong side of the hoop and earned a foul call, sending him to the line. He missed the front end of the charity stripe trip but made the second, giving Arizona an ultimate 74-73 lead.

Santa Clara inbounded the ball with four seconds left, but before the Broncos could get past midcourt, a trapped KJ Feagin stepped out of bounds, handing possession over to Arizona.

Ryan Anderson was subsequently fouled and delivered the sealing free throw.

The win didn’t have to be as close as it was.

Up double digits late in the second half, the Wildcats poised to cruise to another blowout victory, this time over Santa Clara on the opening night of the Wooden Legacy.

Perhaps comfortable with the lead and the direction things were headed, Miller substituted out some starters in order to get some of the newer guys involved.

The move backfired. Arizona next went on a four-minute scoring drought that allowed Santa Clara to climb back into the game. The Broncos went on a 12-0 run to push the UA’s lead down to single digits before halftime.

Arizona now has less than 24 hours to prepare for a Providence team led by Kris Dunn, one of the top point guards in the country. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (PT), and the game will be televised on ESPN2.

Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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