A Players' Program: Oregon preview

A Players' Program: Oregon preview

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - After falling for the second time earlier this month, Arizona understands it might not be able to afford many more setbacks if it hopes to reach its goal of securing a top seed in the NCAA tournament for the second straight season.

The sixth-ranked Wildcats haven't stumbled in Tucson in almost two years, and they'll look to extend the nation's second-longest home winning streak to 33 Wednesday night against Oregon.

Arizona (18-2, 6-1 Pac-12) has bounced back with four consecutive victories and moved into a tie with Utah atop the conference since losing for the second time in four games Jan. 11, 58-56 at Oregon State.

Stanley Johnson keyed a successful Bay Area trip for the Wildcats, leading the way with 19 points in Thursday's 89-82 win over Stanford and again with 18 in Saturday's 73-50 rout of California.

The freshman forward has averaged 19.3 points on 52.1 percent shooting during the four-game winning streak for Arizona, which entered the NCAAs last season as a No. 1 seed with a 30-4 record.

"We want to put ourselves in the best position to be a No. 1 seed in the tournament,'' he said. ''I don't think we can drop any more games on the road or at home. So we're going to try to do our best. We're going to try and run it out.''

The Wildcats have won by an average of 21.1 points during a home win streak that dates to a 77-69 loss to Cal on Feb. 10, 2013. They'll get another shot at Oregon State on Friday after going for a sweep of the season series with the Ducks (14-6, 4-3).

Arizona, though, hopes to avoid the foul trouble that plagued the squad on the road. Johnson, Dusan Ristic, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski dealt with foul trouble at Stanford before Ashley and Tarczewski sat for much of the first half Saturday.

Ashley and Johnson had four fouls apiece while totaling 24 points in an 80-62 win at Oregon on Jan. 8. T.J. McConnell scored a season-high 21 on 9-of-14 shooting for the Wildcats.

Tarczewski and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson teamed for 19 rebounds to help Arizona own a 40-27 edge on the boards. The Wildcats lead the conference with a plus-7.1 rebounding margin, while the Ducks are fifth at plus-4.4.

Arizona will also try to replicate its defensive effort against Oregon leading scorer Joseph Young, who finished with 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting - far below his 19.3 average.

Young scored 16 on Saturday as the Ducks beat visiting UCLA 82-64. They shot a season-high 69.2 percent from the field and a school-record 9 for 13 from 3-point range.

''It definitely shows that if we move the ball, everyone can make open shots," said forward Dwayne Benjamin, who shot 6 for 6 and had 15 points.

Oregon has dropped its two true road games and is 1-4 away from home while allowing 82.0 points per game.

That isn't a good sign heading into a matchup with an Arizona team that has scored 79.1 per game on 51.7 percent shooting in its 11 at the McKale Center.

Oregon had won three of the previous four meetings heading into this season, losing 67-65 to No. 2 Arizona in the most recent matchup in Tucson on Feb. 6.

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