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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats secure home sweep, regain confidence with win over Stanford

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Arizona Men’s Basketball defeated Stanford with a final score 70-54

A trip back home to the friendly confines of McKale Center might have been the shot in the arm Arizona men’s basketball needed as it braces for the Pac-12 Tournament. They defeated Stanford 70-54 to sweep the Bay Area schools and put its seven-game losing streak in the rearview.

In a game they never trailed, the Wildcats contained potential NBA lottery pick KZ Okpala and reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week Josh Sharma, while getting a career-high 16 points on 6-7 shooting from sophomore Ira Lee in the victory.

“Ira has been playing the best basketball of his career lately,” senior Justin Coleman said. “I’ve seen him grow and honor the process, extra shots after practice. I’m just proud of him.”

Forward Ira Lee (11) high fives Justin Coleman (12) after dunking the ball and scoring two points during the game against Stanford on Sunday, Feb. 24 at McKale Center. Arizona beat Stanford 70-54.
Forward Ira Lee (11) high fives Justin Coleman (12) after dunking the ball and scoring two points during the game against Stanford on Sunday, Feb. 24 at McKale Center. Arizona beat Stanford 70-54.

Arizona got a boost from Brandon Williams, as the freshman guard returned to action after missing the last six games with a knee injury. Williams played 17 minutes, scoring four points on 1-4 shooting and finishing with three assists. 

“It brings more firepower,“ Coleman said of Williams being back. “Without our brother, we can’t play together. Having him back, we played together. We played as a team. We played for each other.”

Arizona got off to a blistering start offensively, hitting three of its first four shots from the floor. Chase Jeter had a layup followed by a dunk, and back-to-back Coleman 3s made it 14-3 at the first media timeout. 

          RELATED: Three reasons Arizona was able to end its seven-game losing streak

The Cardinal found its rhythm on both ends, connecting on four of its next five shots, while Arizona missed eight of their next 10 shots to bring the score to 20-15 with 11:03 in the half. The Wildcats allowed Stanford to get as close as three, before going into halftime up 31-23. 

Stanford looked to creep back into the game in the second half, cutting the Arizona lead to 52-43 with 9:56 remaining. Coleman and Lee then took over, scoring 14 of the Wildcats final 18 points to seal the game. 

Four Wildcats scored in double figures, led by Lee. Coleman finished with 14 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists, Jeter also had 14 and Brandon Randolph finished with 10.

Brandon Randolph (5) celebrates Stanford getting an offensive foul during the game on Sunday, Feb. 25 at McKale Center. Arizona won the game with a final score of 70-54.
Brandon Randolph (5) celebrates Stanford getting an offensive foul during the game on Sunday, Feb. 25 at McKale Center. Arizona won the game with a final score of 70-54.

For Randolph, his shooting was especially encouraging. Over the last five games, the sophomore went 1-16 from 3-point range, before going 2-3 on Sunday.

“Confidence is big for all these guys,” Miller said. “Brandon [Randolph] lost his confidence, but tonight, you almost sensed he was relieved. The playmaking of [Williams] helps Brandon a little bit.”

The Wildcats look to continue their momentum against the Oregon schools next week, as major implications in Pac-12 Tournament seedings will be up for grabs. Arizona is currently tied for 7th with Colorado but is tied with four teams in the loss column, including Oregon, with eight losses. 

Arizona will first travel to Corvallis to take on Oregon State, with tipoff set for 7 p.m. Thursday on Fox Sports 1.


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