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The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 7 Arizona crushes Trojans on Jason Terry night

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Tyler Baker

Arizona men’s basketball guard T.J. McConnell (4) makes the “JET” motion to honor former Arizona basketball player Jason Terry during Arizona’s 87-57 win against USC in McKale Center on Thursday. McConnell and the Wildcats won their third-straight game and face UCLA on Saturday. 

It was nearly a perfect night for Arizona men’s basketball on Thursday, when they defeated USC by 30 on the night Jason Terry’s number 31 was raised to the rafters.

The No. 7 Wildcats (23-3, 11-2 Pac-12 conference) celebrated the retirement of former Wildcat and national player of the year award winner Terry with a 87-57 win over the Trojans.

“It was a great night here in McKale … [Not] only did our team perform well and have a good win, but obviously anytime you can retire somebody’s jersey, that’s a monumental moment in a program’s history,” said Arizona coach Sean Miller. “To have him here and the crowd that we had … It was a good night.”

Six Wildcats scored in double-figures, led by center Kaleb Tarczewski who had 15 points and nine rebounds.

The Wildcats have won three in a row since losing to ASU, all by at least 24 points and have now won 35 home games in a row.

Point guard T.J. McConnell and forwards Rondae Hollis Jefferson and Stanley Johnson celebrated baskets by doing Terry’s signature “JET” motion, running down the court with their arms out to emulate a jet plane.

“It was done in a very respectful way,” Miller said. “Those guys they know what a great player Jason Terry is and I think all of our players understand that when you hang from the rafters forever, you did some really great things.”

Wildcats like McConnell and Hollis-Jefferson even sported Terry’s signature long “CATS” socks.

“It was a team idea, just kind of doing the socks and the celebration after you make a three and just kind of giving back to him, for all that’s done for this school,” McConnell said.

Arizona outscored USC 30-18 in the paint and scored 25 points off turnovers.

The Wildcats out-rebounded the Trojans 50-34, shot 47.7 percent from the field and held USC to 31.6 percent.

Tarczewski has scored 17 and 15 in back to back games after scoring two at ASU.

“I think we’re playing with confidence,” Miller said. “Kaleb Tarczewski has emerged. He’s playing in games right now like he practices.”

Point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright returned after missing four games due to a concussion. Jackson-Cartwright scored 11 points, had two assists and one steal in 16 minutes.

Center Dusan Ristic also returned after missing the Washington trip with an illness. He scored seven points and had four rebounds in 15 minutes.

“We took advantage of the score by playing them a lot and we need those guys,” Miller said.

Up next for the Wildcats, Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN, is a UCLA team in need of a win after losing to ASU Thursday.

ESPN’s College GameDay covered by State Farm will be broadcasted on Saturday from McKale Center. It starts at 8 a.m. and doors open at 7:15 a.m.

“We’re not really paying attention to that,”  McConnell said. “It’s great that they’re coming down here for it but we’re worried about UCLA. We’re not worried about going on TV and looking good for everyone in the country.”

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Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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