Arizona Edges Stanford 89-82
STANFORD, Calif. -- In a physical, tightly officiated matchup for first place in the Pac-12, Arizona had to find a flow in a game that completely lacked one because of all the whistles and interruptions.
It took a big second half from Stanley Johnson and Brandon Ashley and some key minutes by role players off the bench.
Johnson had 19 points and seven rebounds, and No. 7/7 Arizona handed Stanford its first home loss of the season with an 89-82 victory Thursday night. Ashley added 17 points while playing with foul trouble in the Wildcats' 10th straight win in the rivalry.
"It was a really unique game," Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. "We were in dire straits because of our foul trouble. It's not easy to play through those moments."
Arizona (17-2, 5-1 Pac-12) tied the game at 52 with 14:34 left on Ashley's three-point play and went ahead on his 3-pointer the next time down the floor in a decisive sequence that helped the Wildcats pull away.
Chasson Randle scored 26 points and became just the third Stanford player to reach 2,000 points and 15th in conference history. UCLA's Jason Kapono was the last to reach the milestone, in 2003.
Randle, already Stanford's career leader for 3-pointers, went in needing 12 points to reach the 2,000-point plateau and got it on a three-pointer in the final minute of the first half that helped put the Cardinal ahead at the break in a game featuring seven lead changes and nine ties. Randle made all 10 of his free throws.
But few of his chances came easily against Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's swarming defense.
"They always play us tough," Arizona's Gabe York said. "We were coming in for a fight. It was just a matter of us making the right plays and making enough plays to win."
Anthony Brown added 18 points and nine rebounds as the Cardinal (13-5, 4-2) dropped to 9-1 at home in Maples Pavilion and had a three-game winning streak snapped with just its second defeat in nine games.
"For us, it's about stops," Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins said. "We didn't get enough stops. They were able to get stops. It was a matter of who was going to defend."
Arizona hit 11 of its first 16 shots on the way to a 26-17 lead midway through the first half. But Stanford capitalized when the Wildcats cooled off -- during a 1-for-7 stretch -- and tied the game at 31 on Randle's two free throws with 4:36 left in the half.
"The bottom line is we lost. We need to fix things we didn't do right and then flush it and get ready for Arizona State," Randle said. "It's an opportunity gone, especially being at home. It stings a little bit."
Stanford outshot Arizona 54.5 percent to 53.8 on the way to a 41-39 halftime edge.
About 18 scouts representing 16 NBA franchises were credentialed for the game, which was part of Coaches vs. Cancer week with coaches sporting sneakers and suits.
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NOTES: Stanford has lost 10 in a row to Arizona, with its last victory a 76-60 triumph on Jan. 4, 2009 at Maples Pavilion … The Cardinal is 11-17 all-time against top-25 opponents under head coach Johnny Dawkins. Stanford entered Thursday’s game having won seven of its last 10 against nationally-ranked foes … Randle has scored 2,014 career points and trails only Todd Lichti (2,336) and Adam Keefe (2,319) in school history. Randle is also 12 minutes away from becoming Stanford’s all-time leader in career minutes played … Anthony Brown has finished with exactly 18 points and nine rebounds in three straight games and has grabbed at least eight boards in each of his last five contests … Dorian Pickens added a season-high eight points off the bench in 21 minutes … The teams combined for 67 free throws, with both sides making 24 apiece … Stanford is now 9-1 at home this season and 85-28 at Maples Pavilion under head coach Johnny Dawkins … Stanford next hosts Arizona State on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 9 p.m. PT. It’s the Cardinal’s second 9 p.m. tip of the season, including the season opener against Wofford on Nov. 14.
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Head Coach Johnny Dawkins
“I thought Arizona did have good depth. I thought the game got a little bit disjointed with some foul trouble probably for both teams. I know both teams probably were out there with some lineups that we haven’t seen all year, and that can make it difficult. But they have good depth and they have a lot of quality guys coming in that are able to contribute.”
“I thought the second half we started off fine. We went up by five, then for us it’s about stops. We just didn’t get enough stops. Give them credit, they executed well. I though getting back at full strength with [Brandon Ashley] out there on the floor made a big difference as well because he was out most of the first half. They were able to get stops and we just weren’t able to get them.”
“They shot 56 percent for the game; that’s awful high. I thought we were pretty efficient offensively but we shot 50 percent. So it was a matter of who was going to defend, and I thought they defended a little better than we did in the second half and that was the difference in the ball game.”
“No, I didn’t think they were calling it closely, I thought they were fouls … I just think it made the game a bit more disjointed. We had two or three guys that had two or three fouls in the first half, but so did they. It’s the nature of the game, and you have to find ways to make adjustments. We did, we got to halftime with relatively little foul trouble … In the second half, when we got the lead, they really locked in defensively at that point and we didn’t defend as well as we’re capable of. I was a little disappointed with how we defended.”
“The atmosphere was great. I loved our crowd. I think our support has been terrific. The energy in the building was amazing. I thought our guys really fed off of that in both games. I love Maples and I love what I see with the support that we have. I just want everyone to keep coming out with that kind of energy because we need it.”
Stanford Senior Chasson Randle
“Anytime you lose a game, it’s always disappointing. It’s one opportunity gone. We always say every [game] counts as one, but this one being at home, and not being able to get the win, it kind of stings a little bit. We have to move on. We have another one Saturday and we have to get that one.”
“I play the game to win and we didn’t do that tonight. Later on in life, I can look back and say, ‘I scored 2,000 points.’ But we didn’t get the win so it’s just about moving on.”
“Defense [was the difference in the game]. We didn’t get enough stops. Anytime you give up 80-plus points, it’s a recipe for losing and we’ve got to fix that.”
“Arizona plays together. The pack line defense makes it hard for you to see gaps to get into the lane and then they contest every jump shot. They make it tough for you.”
Stanford Senior Stefan Nastic
“Our defense needs to be a lot better. That’s number one. Today, we didn’t defend like who we are and that clearly showed. That’s why I feel we lost the game.”
Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller
“It was a really unique game, a lot of fouls called, and we were in dire straits because of our foul trouble. But we played through foul trouble, and from the 16:00 mark until the last few minutes, we found our groove offensively, and we had a number of guys do a good job.”
“We've proven we're a very good defensive team, but if you look at the final score, Stanford did a great job against us. Some of it might be a little skewed because of how the game ended; I don't know how many points they scored in the last few minutes, but it felt like 15 to 20 (Stanford scored 20 points in the last 2:46).”
“The way the game is called affects everything. From how you sub to how you run offense and defense. At one point in the first half, we had six fouls on our side of half-court: two charges and four of what they called "over the back." Three of the four led to six points. When that happens, I give our guys credit because adversity, being on the road, can tilt the game the wrong way, but we hung in there.”
“Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson, who was the primary defender on Chasson Randle) is like a versatile defensive back. He's not just a cover guy. He's somebody who can blitz, he can defend a myriad of different types of players. In the same game, he can guard the other team's "one" and "four." I thought his effort was exceptional, and Chasson Randle is a really good player.”
“We played well at Oregon, we played well at times at UTEP in an incredibly hostile environment. We played well at times tonight, and at times we didn't, but Stanford had a lot to do with it.”