Wildcats vs. Ducks preview - Tucson News Now

Wildcats vs. Ducks preview

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(AP) - Though Arizona already clinched the Pac-12 regular-season title, it's poised to not lose any momentum heading into the conference tournament and beyond.

Looking for a sixth straight win, the visiting third-ranked Wildcats must remain focused during Saturday's regular-season finale against a surging Oregon squad that can further boost its NCAA tournament resume with a seventh consecutive victory.

Arizona (28-2, 15-2) secured its first league title in three seasons with a 79-66 win Sunday over Stanford, then had to work for a 74-69 victory at Oregon State on Wednesday.

"We want to finish this season out as strong as possible," said leading scorer Nick Johnson, who had a career-high 25 points against the Beavers. "We don't want to take an 'L,' and not play hard, because that carries over to the next game.

"We have ourselves a little momentum going here."

Arizona shot 42.1 percent Wednesday, its worst effort in five games since making 35.9 percent during the 69-66 double-overtime loss at Arizona State on Feb. 14. The Wildcats were also outrebounded 43-34, but recorded 21 points off 17 Oregon State turnovers.

The large rebounding disparity didn't sit well with Arizona coach Sean Miller, whose team ranks first in the Pac-12 with 39.0 boards per contest. Oregon State is tied for 10th at 34.5 per game, but became the sixth opponent this season to outrebound the Wildcats.

"I would put (Oregon State's) physicality, their size, against any front line in the country," said Miller said. "To be outrebounded on the road and still win, we'll take it.

"This is a reminder that in March, teams are desperate."

Oregon (21-8, 9-8) can fit that description. 

 

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