Coming off their second straight road sweep, the concern for the Arizona Wildcats was whether they could keep that momentum going back at home. That didn’t happen during their previous homestand, when they nearly blew a 20-point lead and then had their worst shooting performance in McKale Center history.
Thankfully, the Oregon State Beavers served as the perfect opponent to keep things rolling against.
Arizona forced 21 turnovers, 13 in the first half, converting those into 26 points in an 89-63 win over OSU on Thursday night at McKale.
Josh Green had 18 points and Nico Mannion had 16, with six assists apiece, while Max Hazzard had 15 off the bench (including three 3-pointers) and Zeke Nnaji added 13 as No. 24 Arizona (19-7, 9-4 Pac-12) won for the third straight game and sixth time in seven games. The victory also kept the Wildcats tied for first in the loss column with ASU—which beat Oregon—and Colorado.
The UA shot 43.8 percent overall, missing quite a few shots close to the basket in the first half but then shooting 51.7 percent in the second half. The Wildcats hit 7 of 13 3-pointers after halftime and were 10 of 21 from deep for the game, their best rate (47.6 percent) since making 15 of 29 against Utah on Jan. 16 and coming after Arizona had shot 27 percent from 3 in its previous seven games.
Oregon State (15-11, 5-9) came in with the best offensive turnover percentage in conference play but had four giveaways in the first four minutes, with Arizona scoring on each during a 12-0 run that set the tone for the rest of the game. The Wildcats managed 15 points of OSU’s 13 first-half turnovers en route to a 40-30 lead, then steadily built that margin throughout the second half with the help from some overzealous Beavers.
Alfred Hollins was called for a hook-and-hold on Stone Gettings a minute into the second half, then Tres Tinkle was ejected with 13:17 to go after elbowing Jemarl Baker Jr. in the face on a drive. And after back-to-back 3s by Hazzard and Mannion the Wildcats were up 64-43 with 10:50 to go.
The win avenges Arizona’s worst loss of the season, an 82-65 setback at OSU on Jan. 12. Since then the Wildcats have won eight of 10.
The Wildcats go for the home sweep on Saturday night when they host No. 14 Oregon in a game that may decide the Pac-12 regular-season title.