The Arizona Wildcats got exactly what they wanted. Another dance with Cal.
The 12th-seeded Golden Bears stunned the 5th-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils 71-67 in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday, setting up a rematch with 4-seed Arizona in the quarterfinals on Friday.
“We definitely want Cal,” Arizona point guard Aari McDonald said Tuesday. “Payback.”
The Bears and Cats just battled last Sunday when Cal spoiled Arizona’s Senior Day with a stunning 55-54 victory in McKale Center, what UA coach Adia Barnes called a “devastating” loss.
Cal (13-18, 3-15 Pac-12) then became just the second-ever 12-seed to win a Pac-12 Tournament game. The Golden Bears trailed the Sun Devils by as many as 15, but used a 20-0 run in the second half to take the lead, which it never relented.
“The Arizona game gave us momentum in this game and we’re unstoppable right now,” Cal forward Jaelyn Brown told the Pac-12 Network. “We’re going to keep this going.”
Due to the Pac-12’s imbalanced schedule, Arizona and Cal only faced each other once in the regular season. The Bears outrebounded the Wildcats 42-34 in their win, including a 14-6 edge on the offensive glass and the game-winning putback.
Friday’s tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Network. The winner will likely play No. 1 seed Oregon in the semis on Saturday at 7 p.m. MT.
The Wildcats (23-6, 12-6) are currently the No. 14 overall seed in the country, and might need to beat the Bears to stay in the Top 16 and secure the right to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
“It would definitely be nice to get revenge on them,” Arizona forward Sam Thomas said Tuesday. “So if they want to win, we’re ready for that.”