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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Welcome to March: York nails his redemption against Cal


Arizona guard Gabe York (1) screams in victory after scoring the game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds of the game in McKale Center on Thursday, March 3. York overcame multiple missed late game opportunities earlier in the season to hit one of the biggest shots of his life.

Gabe York had the ball in his hands in the final seconds against California over a month ago in Berkeley. Down 74-73, York’s jumper didn’t quite go, giving the Golden Bears the upset over then No. 12 Arizona.

But the second time around had a much different, more poetic ending for the senior.

York and the Arizona Wildcats found redemption in more ways than one Thursday night after York hit a 3-pointer with 12.7 seconds remaining to give the No. 18 Wildcats the victory against No. 25 Cal in McKale Center.

“I’m not someone who’s always about myself, but for me, this would probably be number one,” York said. “A very hostile team that we lost to last time and I missed the game winning shot, so I had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder.”

Trailing 61-53 with just under two minutes to play, Arizona saw its comeback sparked by York, Kaleb Tarczewski and Ryan Anderson, three seniors who were playing in their second-to-last home game of their collegiate careers.

“I’ve been in the gym for countless hours every day after the Utah and Colorado losses when I played so poorly,” York said. “I couldn’t get it done for my team and give credit to coach [Mark] Phelps. He texted me everyday and wanted to know what time I wanted to come in.”

Anderson scored on a layup and was fouled, making the free throw and cutting the deficit to 61-56. Cal’s Tyrone Wallace turned the ball over and York responded by hitting a deep 3 to cut the Cal lead to just two.

Cal’s Jaylen Brown fouled out on a charge on the following possession, giving Arizona the ball with 29 seconds remaining. In the ensuing moments, York ran through a couple of screens, caught the pass from Kadeem Allen well beyond the 3-point arc, and shot. Bang.

Tarczewski grabbed the final rebound after Wallace missed the final shot for Cal. He knocked down two free throws and sealed the victory for Arizona.

“[I’ve] never been more happy for a kid than I am right now for Gabe,” said Arizona head coach Sean Miller. “To watch him bounce back from last week’s performance, his own and our team’s, and do what he did tonight in the second half. He had 19 points in the second half against an incredible defensive team. He deserves a lot of credit.”

During a time where college basketball seniors are rare, York and others proved why experience and resiliency are invaluable, especially in March.

They’ve played in big games before and it showed in their late game run.

With this win, Arizona has more than likely sealed up a first round bye in next week’s Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. These final two games are about them and they took full advantage of it.

Now, the Wildcats turn their attention to Saturday and the Stanford Cardinal. Arizona defeated Stanford 71-57 in their last meet in Palo Alto, California, and the seniors will have one more opportunity to shine in front of the McKale Center faithful.

The Cardinal (15-12, 8-8) is sitting at eighth place in the Pac-12 Conference. Stanford has the lowest scoring offense in the Pac-12 at 70 points per game, but the third highest defensive scoring, allowing only 69 points per game. Stanford shoots the ball about 43 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3.

Arizona and Stanford also played on Senior Night last season. T.J. McConnell famously kissed the block A at McKale Center’s half-court and the Wildcats won 91-69.

Tipoff for Saturday’s game will be at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS.

Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.

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