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MailTribune.com
  • Top-seeded Wildcats blow past Utes in Pac-12 tournament

  • LAS VEGAS — T.J. McConnell laid out like a baserunner diving headfirst into a base. He missed the ball, but, after landing with a thud, jumped up and raced the other direction.
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  • LAS VEGAS — T.J. McConnell laid out like a baserunner diving headfirst into a base. He missed the ball, but, after landing with a thud, jumped up and raced the other direction.
    Aaron Gordon, who did get the steal because of McConnell's effort, flipped the ball ahead and Arizona's point guard ran under it, scoring an easy basket in transition.
    The play, and countless others like it in a spirit-crushing rout over Utah, let the rest of the Pac-12 field — and the country — know that one of the nation's best defensive is in high gear for the postseason.
    Playing with a feverish intensity from the opening tip, Arizona raced through the record book and overwhelmed the stunned Utes in a 71-39 rout on Thursday to match the most lopsided game in Pac-12 tournament history.
    "We were locked in," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "Everything that we wanted to do defensively, we were able to do it."
    Nick Johnson scored 14 points, McConnell 13 and Gordon added 11 for Arizona, which shot 53 percent.
    That was just a side note to what the Wildcats were doing defensively.
    After playing two close games against Utah during the regular season, top-seeded Arizona (29-3) opened the tournament with a have-to-see-it-to-believe-it defensive performance.
    Energized by a raucous crowd that made it feel like the McKale Center, the Wildcats were at their lane-jumping, shot-contesting best against the Utes (21-11) to move into today's semifinals against Colorado.
    The Wildcats held the Utes to 13 points in the first half, another record, and matched UCLA's 32-point win over Oregon State in 2006.
    Stanford 79, Arizona St. 58
    At Las Vegas, Chasson Randle scored 21 points and Stanford jumped on third-seeded Arizona State early in a win over the Sun Devils.
    Stanford (21-11) built any early 10-point lead, answered when Arizona State tried to make a run and pulled away down the stretch to give its NCAA tournament hopes a huge boost.
    Colorado 59, California 56
    At Las Vegas, Askia Booker scored 17 points, Xavier Talton added 13 and Colorado held off California.
    Colorado (23-10) led by as much as 11 before the Bears made a late run to make it close.
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