Arizona established conference supremacy by beating Utah in Salt Lake City 63-57, clinching the top seed in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Both teams exchanged punches in what was an expected heavyweight battle, but the Wildcats landed the last blow with clutch play down the stretch.
It was a rough night on offense for Arizona, who shot just 17 of 51 from the field, just 33.3%. But the defense was once again stalwart, yielding just 17 of 55 shooting, 30.9%.
Kaleb Tarczewski led the Wildcats with 13 points, hitting 3 of 4 shots as well as 7 of 9 free throw attempts. Tarczewski’s aggressiveness in the paint was a key factor in Arizona being able to grind out another win despite a poor overall shooting performance.
Gabe York was instrumental off the bench, scoring 12 points in just 25 minutes. York also hit two late free throws to ice the game.
Utah played a solid, physical game but were once again outrebounded by the Wildcats 44-35. Arizona had 16 second chance points off of 16 offensive rebounds.
Stanley Johnson struggled from the field, hitting just 3 of 19 shots. But he was aggressive all night and finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. 8 of those rebounds came on the offensive glass, underscoring how physical he was around the basket.
Sophomore Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 10 points and 8 rebounds, as well as some clutch free throw conversions in the game’s final minutes.
The game was tied 8 times, and the game was tied for over 5 minutes of action. Arizona held the lead for 19 minutes and 57 seconds.