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Pac-12 Conference Tournament results: Arizona holds serve in the quarters vs. Cal

Arizona eases past Cal in the PAC-12 Quarterfinals to keep its hopes of a one seed alive and better yet, a chance to end its PAC-12 tournament title drought.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears frankly had nothing to lose. A team who came to Las Vegas knowing its only hope at an NCAA bid was to win the automatic berth pushed Arizona for the better part of 25 minutes. Ultimately the cream always rises to the top though and the Wildcats were able to put away a pesky California team midway through the second half to ensure its tune up for the NCAAs wouldn't be short-lived. It ended up being a 73-51 victory.

Arizona, having lost the PAC-12 tournament final to UCLA a season ago, entered the conference tournament searching for its first title since 2002 amazingly with four championship game losses in that time frame. Marred by slow starts at times this season the Wildcats didn't exactly come bursting out of the gates in this one either.

Cal and Arizona traded buckets for a stretch with the lead changing eight times in the first seven minutes of action. Stanley Johnson and T.J. McConnell carried much of the offensive weight in the first half while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made his presence felt with some thunderous dunks and his patented relentless defense on the other end of the floor.

Ultimately Arizona's calling card on the defensive end allowed the Wildcats to blow the game open with a few small runs in the second half. In all, the Bears were held to 34.4% shooting with 14 turnovers and even Tyrone Wallace who led Cal with 19 points was held to 8-20 shooting in defeat.

The win pushes the Wildcats through to the semifinals on Friday where they will meet the winner of the SoCal battle between UCLA and USC. The Bruins seem the obvious opponent and would present an interesting test in a game that could be an NCAA make or break game for UCLA who has been firmly on the bubble for weeks. Regardless of opponent, Arizona has now put itself in a strong position to get back to the PAC-12 title game on Saturday and keep alive its hopes of a number one seed when the bracket is announced Sunday night.