No. 9 Arizona holds on for 62-57 win over Cal
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Kobi Simmons scored 13 points, Dusan Ristic added 12 and No. 9 Arizona stretched its home winning streak to 20 games with a 62-57 victory over California on Saturday night.
Arizona (23-3, 12-1) learned earlier Saturday that it is currently a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region after the NCAA Tournament selection committee released its preliminary rankings. The Wildcats capped the day by holding off a solid team fighting for an NCAA spot despite an off night by leading scorer Allonzo Trier.
Kadeem Allen added 11 points and Arizona held Cal’s Ivan Raab to four points and four rebounds.
Cal (18-7, 9-4) has made a big push into the NCAA Tournament bubble, stretching its winning streak to five games with a 15-point win over Arizona State on Wednesday.
The Bears kept it close against Arizona, but were never able to make a big run after the Wildcats built a nine-point halftime lead.
Jabari Bird led Cal with 19 points.
Arizona bounced back from a lopsided loss to then-No. 13 Oregon by outlasting Stanford 64-67 on Wednesday night in a closer-than-expected game that left coach Sean Miller frustrated over this team’s defense.
The Wildcats were better at guarding the ball against Cal and led 34-25 at halftime behind Simmons’ 10 points, including two on a turnaround runner to beat the shot clock buzzer.
Arizona did it without getting a point from Trier and Lauri Markkanen, their top two scorers.
Raab was limited to two points in six minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. The Bears then had to play the second without point guard Charlie Moore because of a hip injury.
Cal managed to hang around even without its floor leader, pulling within 43-39 midway through the second half. Bird helped keep the Bears close in the second half, but Arizona never let Cal pull any closer.
Trier was held scoreless until the final minutes, when he made 3 of 4 free throws to close out Arizona’s win.
Losing on the road to a Top 10 team should not hurt Cal, especially since the Bears managed to keep it close.
Arizona took care of its business at home against a solid team, which should keep the Wildcats in the top 10.
Cal plays rival Stanford on Friday in its only game next week.
Arizona plays at Washington State on Thursday, then heads to Washington on Feb. 18.