By Daniel Dullum
Thursday, March 10, 2022
The Arizona Wildcats Christian Koloko is jubilant over the success of the Wildcats in their win over the Stanford Cardinal at the T Mobile Center in Las Vegas on Thu Mar 10, 2022 at the Pac 12 Tournament (AP News photo)
Stanford gave top-seed Arizona all it could handle in Thursday’s quarterfinal round of the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament in Las Vegas. The No. 2-ranked Wildcats held off an inspired Cardinal team to win 84-80.
Christian Koloko topped the U of A scoring with 24 points to go with nine rebounds and four assists, followed by Bennedict Mathurin with 20 points and seven rebounds, as the Wildcats (29-3) struggled with Stanford for the second time this season before prevailing, Azuolas Tubelis added seven rebounds and five assists, and point guard Kerr Kriisa had 10 points and five assists before leaving with an injury in the final minute.
The nine-seed Cardinal opened the tournament with a last-second win over Arizona State on Wednesday and opened Thursday’s game with a barrage of 3-pointers, going 11 for 20 behind the arc while shooting 54 percent against the league’s top defense.
Spencer Jones bagged a game-high 28 points – 13 in the first half – followed by Harrison Ingram with 16. Jones was 12 of 18 overall from the field, including 4 of 7 3-pointers. Ingram and Michael O’Connell (11 points) each had four assists.
Arizona led 49-37 at halftime and outscored the Cardinal 44-43 in the final 20 minutes. The Cardinal were 6 of 8 behind the arc in the first half and never allowed the Wildcats to build a big lead.
Down the stretch, Arizona took an 82-77 lead on a Koloko dunk, but the Cardinal (16-16) responded with a 3-pointer by Ingram, cutting Stanford’s deficit to 82-80 with 13 seconds remaining, The Cardinal fouled Pelle Larsson, who made a pair of free throws with 8.5 seconds to play, accounting for the final score.
The Wildcats will face Colorado in the semifinals, while Stanford awaits a possible postseason invite to a tournament other than the Big Dance.