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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Ducks dive bomb

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Jordan Glenn

Arizona men’s basketball forward Brandon Ashley (21) shoots during Arizona’s 90-56 win against Oregon at McKale Center on Wednesday. Ashley and the Wildcats defeated Oregon behind a dominant offense and defense.

The mood is so light for Arizona men’s basketball, point guard T.J. McConnell opened the press conference after the Wildcats’ 90-56 win over Oregon on Wednesday night with a joke.

“I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” McConnell said, alluding to Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch’s response to questions on Super Bowl media day.

The No. 6 Wildcats (19-2, 7-1 Pac-12 Conference) beat the Ducks to win their 33rd-straight home game and fifth game in a row.

Arizona head coach Sean Miller said the win was one of the Wildcats’ best games this season, along with the wins over Utah and Gonzaga.

“[Wednesday night,] the margin of victory favored us, and we did some very good things,” Miller said. “I’m sure on Oregon’s side of the ledger, they didn’t play as well as they normally do.”

After playing neck and neck with the Ducks for their first three minutes of the game, the Wildcats pulled away in the first half and blew the game open in the second to win their 16th straight Pac-12 game at home.

“We’re just happy we’re winning,” McConnell said. “I think a lot of teams would want to switch places with us right now.”

Six Wildcats scored in double figures: reserve guard Gabe York (16), forward Brandon Ashley (13), forward Stanley Johnson (12), forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (11), center Kaleb Tarczewski (11) and McConnell (10).

“We can have one of those nights on any given night, where four or five guys are scoring in double figures,” McConnell said. “It shows how lethal we can really be, and I thought that was one of the best games we played all year.”

The 34-point loss is Oregon’s worst of its season. The second-worst loss was the UA’s 18-point win in Eugene, Ore.

The Ducks averaged 77.8 points per game going into Wednesday. UO shot 40 percent from the field.

“I think the story tonight is really our defense,” Tarczewski said. “They’re the second-leading scoring team in the Pac-12, and we held them to 56 points. That’s really the reason we won. Everyone was really locking on defense.”

Ten Wildcats scored, and Arizona made 35 field goals compared to Oregon’s 19.

Miller said ball and player movement was a point of emphasis after the UA’s 73-50 win at California.

“When we take care of the ball and move the ball, a lot of good things follow, because we have balance,” Miller said.

The Wildcats led for 36:12, and their bench outscored the Ducks’ reserves 33-13.

“Arizona is a top-10 team for a reason,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “They have three projected first-round picks and one in the second round; they’re a talented team. They’re very well coached, and they have a great atmosphere.”

Arizona outscored Oregon 44-18 in the paint.

“Everyone did a great job passing the ball into the post and really kind of took advantage of that tonight,” Tarczewski said.

On Friday, the streaking Wildcats face Oregon State, which handed Arizona its only Pac-12 loss of the season. Since then, the UA has routed Colorado, California and Oregon and beat Utah, which tied for first place in the Pac-12 going into this week, and third-place Stanford on the road.

Even when the press conference ended, McConnell kept the atmosphere fun when asked about the ZonaZoo’s costume night.

“The costumes, I think, creeped out a little bit of their players,” McConnell said, “and I think it was to our advantage.”

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Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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