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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 18 Arizona defeats California 64-61

No.+18+Arizona+defeats+California+64-61

When Arizona men’s basketball touched down in Tucson late Saturday night, Gabe York immediately headed over to Richard Jefferson Gymnasium.

He needed to find his love of basketball, again.

York had just come off one of his worst shooting outings of the season in the Wildcats’ down-to-the-wire loss to Utah. In the game’s final minute, York stumbled on the defensive end before missing a 3-pointer – sealing the defeat.

The senior guard wanted to assure such a moment wouldn’t happen.

On Thursday night, York redeemed himself as he knocked down three 3-pointers in the final 2:39 of No. 18 Arizona’s 64-61 victory over California in McKale Center, including a corner shot with 19 seconds to go that put the Wildcats ahead by one.

On the ensuing California possession, the Golden Bears’ Tyrone Wallace missed a contested jumper. Two Kaleb Tarczewski free throws clinched the Arizona win.

“As a basketball player and a captain on this team, I want to have the ball in my hands,” York said. “I know I haven’t done a great job of finishing out games, but at the end of the day I’m going to take the good with the bad.”

The win moves Arizona to 23-7 on the season and 11-6 in Pac-12 Conference play.

For the Wildcats to guarantee themselves a first-round bye in next week’s Pac-12 Tournament, they’ll need to beat Stanford or rely on Utah to defeat Colorado, who stands at fifth place in the conference at 10-7.

York led Arizona with 19 points while Ryan Anderson added another 18.

York’s final 3-pointer, which capped off an 11-0 Arizona run to end the game, came off a top of the arc screen, allowing the sharpshooter to find himself open.

“With that much space, I was just happy letting the ball fly,” York said.

Only two minutes earlier, that York would even be in such a situation seemed improbable.

Cal led by eight points with 1:53 remaining, powered by a 15 point performance from Ivan Rabb.

The former Arizona recruiting target dominated the glass, recording 15 rebounds including six on the offensive end.

Rabb did most of his work in the second half by making six of eight shots including a 3-pointer, his first outside shot of the season.

“Ivan Rabb is a tremendous player,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. “I really felt like his offensive rebounding in the second half would have been the reason Cal beat us.”

Jabari Bird and Jordan Matthews added double digits in scoring for the Bears, while star freshman Jaylen Brown was held in check with foul trouble.

Both teams got off to sluggish starts in the first half, and neither group recovered by halftime.

At intermission, Cal led 29-25 with both teams shooting under 33 percent from the field.

Arizona’s scoring picked up in the second half, as the Wildcats shot 50 percent. Cal, meanwhile, struggled to find a scoring rhythm all night, relying on 28 second chance points.

“We played tremendous defense,” Miller said. “Other than Cal’s offensive rebounding – if we would have done a better job there – I think we would have won the game by a different margin.”

Instead, it was Cal’s defense that faltered down the stretch, providing Arizona to amass its comeback.

“The finish tonight was one of the greatest finishes I’ve been part of,” Miller said.

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