A lot had gone right for Arizona during its 7-game win streak, whether it be offensive execution, defensive intensity or not letting foul trouble be an issue.
It’s hard to win when all of those things stop working all at once.
The fourth-ranked Wildcats fell 88-79 at Stanford on Saturday night, their first loss overall since Jan. 14 and their first at Maples Pavilion since 2009.
Arizona (22-4, 11-4 Pac-12) allowed Stanford to shoot 61.1 percent from the field, the highest shooting percentage for a UA opponent since Oregon shot 65.2 percent in a beatdown in a 27-point beatdown in 2017. This came after the Wildcats had been playing their best defense of the season, holding the previous seven opponents to 62.6 points per game and 36.7 percent shooting.
It was the first time under Tommy Lloyd that Arizona lost a game when scoring
The UA shot 45 percent and hit 14 3-pointers, including eight by Courtney Ramey, but Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo combined for just 12 points and four rebounds on 5-of-7 shooting. Tubelis was saddled with foul trouble all game, playing only 17 minutes, and finished with four points and zero rebounds for his first game all season without at least 12 points and six boards.
Ramey had 26, along with six rebounds and five assists, while Cedric Henderson Jr. and Pelle Larsson had 12 each with Larsson adding six rebounds and four steals.
Stanford (11-14, 5-9) got a career-high 22 from Michael O’Connell, who had 3 3-pointers after making three all season prior to Saturday, while Spencer Jones had all 18 of his points in the second half.
The Cardinal outrebounded Arizona 34-26 and won the points-in-the-paint battle 42-24. The 24 paint points were tied for the fewest this season by the Wildcats.
It was the first time under Tommy Lloyd that Arizona lost a game when scoring 75 or more points.
Stanford shot 60.7 percent, hit 6 of 10 3s and outscored Arizona 22-14 in the paint in the first half but the Wildcats still held a 44-41 lead at the break. Ramey’s 6th 3-pointer put the UA up 57-51 with 14:40 left, but right after that Tubelis got his third foul and was back off the court.
The Cardinal capitalized with a 7-0 run for its first lead since late in the first half, though Arizona went back in front on the ensuing possession, and Ramey hit his seventh triple to put the Wildcats up 63-58 only to see the home team tie it again.
A layup by Spencer Jones in the second half, put Stanford up 67-66 and then Tubelis got his fourth on the other end with 7:07 remaining. A 3-point play by Brandon Angel made it a 4-point Cardinal lead with 6:52 left, and after Ramey’s 8th 3 got the Wildcats in one the home team put the game away with a 10-0 run for an 80-69 lead with 3:07 to go.
Arizona tried to make a game of it late, getting within 83-77 with 1:33 remaining, after Kerr Kriisa was fouled on a made 3 and hit the free throw, and Larsson stole the ball on the next two Stanford possessions but the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize and the Cardinal iced it at the line.
Down 14-10 early, Arizona used an 8-0 run to take its first lead. The Wildcats led 24-19 before Stanford used a 7-0 run to go back in front, and along the way Tubelis was called for a hold on an entry pass and had to sit with two fouls.
The Cardinal hit eight shots in a row at one point, building a 35-31 lead, but then turned it over on four straight possessions during a 13-0 Arizona run to give it a 9-point edge. That run featured back-to-back steals from Larsson, as well as Ramey’s fourth 3, as the Wildcats scored 11 points off Stanford turnovers in that run.
Arizona returns home for its next three games, beginning with Thursday’s matchup against Utah. The Wildcats lost by 15 to the Utes in Salt Lake City on Dec. 1.