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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

The quest for win No. 50: looking back at top moments of McKale Center winning streak

Dec. 7, 2013: Wildcats beat Rebels, clinch No. 1 ranking

It doesn’t get much better than this battle between the Wildcats and the Runnin’ Rebels. It wasn’t just the intensity that puts this game on the list, but the circumstances. It was a primetime weekend game, it was a whiteout game and on top of that, the Wildcats were the No. 2 team in the country and a victory would ensure Arizona the No. 1 spot. The Rebels took the Wildcats down to the wire trading baskets, but it was the transfer point guard from Duquesne University, T.J. McConnell, earning his stripes scoring 13 points and six assists to lead Arizona to victory. Two days later, Arizona earned the nation’s top ranking in the AP poll. 

Nov. 19, 2014: Hollis-Jefferson dunks all over UC Irvine’s Ndiaye

It may seem out of place for this game to make the cut, but the athletic display Rondae Hollis-Jefferson put up against UC Irvine’s 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye was worthy enough of making Sports Center’s Top-10 plays. Early in the second half with Arizona down three points, Hollis-Jefferson drove to the hoop just as Ndiaye stepped into the lane attempting to block the dunk. Hollis-Jefferson, formerly known as the “Shim Reaper,” dunked the ball with emphasis and ignited an Arizona run. The Wildcats would eventually rout the Anteaters and move to 3-0 on the season. 

Dec. 6, 2014: Arizona knocks off Gonzaga in top-10 affair 

The day following the Pac-12 Conference Football Championship when the Wildcats football team was embarrassed by Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, the basketball team would help Arizona fans feel better, when they competed in a battle of top-10 teams in the Old Pueblo with No. 9 Gonzaga. Arizona was tested by Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer who was arguably the most versatile forward the Wildcats saw the entire season outside of Wisconsin.  However, Arizona’s defense stepped up, holding the Zags to 16.7 percent from the 3-point range. In overtime, ZonaZoo pitched in. With Arizona up three points and only a few seconds remaining on the clock, Gonzaga’s Byron Wesley went to the charity stripe after being fouled on three. Facing the rabid ZonaZoo crowd, Wesley missed all three attempts, ensuring a 66-63 Arizona win. 

Nov. 18, 2013: Sean Miller earns 100th victory at Arizona

Early in the 2013-2014 season, Arizona hosted cupcake opponent Fairleigh Dickinson. The game itself wasn’t special—a 100-50 Arizona blowout, but the final score was aligned perfectly for Sean Miller. Why? Because the win gave Miller his 100th win as the head coach for the Wildcats. He became the fifth coach in school history to reach the milestone and did it in only his fifth season. 

March 7, 2015: McConnell goes out with Pac-12 title 

The last home game for Brandon Ashley, Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and T.J. McConnell was a special one. With a Pac-12 regular season title on the line, Arizona defeated Stanford 91-69, giving the Wildcats another trophy. This was McConnell’s day, considering he was the lone senior and a major contributor to Arizona. Sean Miller’s floor general left his final mark in Tucson with a double-double 10 points and 11 assists. Just when people thought it couldn’t get any better, McConnell got on his knees to kiss the block “A’” in center court only to receive a standing ovation. 

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