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Pac-12 Tournament: Arizona overcomes Stanford’s 3-point shooting, Kerr Kriisa injury to advance and avenge another loss

Up next: ASU!

arizona-wildcats-stanford-cardinal-pac12-mens-basketball-tournament-las-vegas-recap-highlights-stats Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS—Beating Arizona twice in a row continues to be something no one can do.

The second-seeded Wildcats earned another revenge win, atoning for that loss in Palo Alto a month ago by dominating in the paint while also withstanding another 3-point barrage from Stanford in a 95-84 victory in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Defending conference tourney champ Arizona (26-6) moves on the semifinals where it will face No. 6 ASU, a 77-72 winner over No. 3 USC, Friday at 9:30 p.m. MST.

The UA outscored the 10th-seeded Cardinal 54-22 in the paint, a complete reversal of the previous meeting when Stanford won the paint battle 42-24 and shot 61.1 percent in an 88-79 victory. Stanford (14-19) shot 49.1 percent this time, making 14 of 29 3-pointers, but had no answer for the Wildcats’ inside game.

Oumar Ballo had 24 points, his most since a career-high 30 in the Maui Invitational final, on 10-of-13 shooting, while Cedric Henderson Jr. had a UA-best 23 and Azuolas Tubelis had 20—he had 4 in the loss at Stanford—as Arizona shot 63.8 percent. That was its second-best shooting performance in the conference tourney and the 95 points were its most in Pac-10/12 tourney play since scoring 98 against Oregon State in 1989.

Arizona also won in spite of an apparent shoulder injury to point guard Kerr Kriisa, who had to go to the locker room late in the first half. He started the second half but did not attempt a field goal, finishing with one point along with four assists.

The UA led 47-43 at the half thanks to 61.8 percent shooting before the break. It stayed hot, making six of its first eight shots, but so did Stanford, and three of those were from outside including a corner trey from Michael O’Connell to put the Cardinal ahead 57-56.

The Wildcats hit their first 3 of the second half when Ramey pulled up, swished it and then fist pumped. That gave the UA a 65-61 lead with 13:49 left.

Stanford finally started to cool off, missing nine of 11 shots, while Arizona remained on fire, going on a 10-0 run to lead 79-68 with 8:42 remaining. Then all of a sudden the Wildcats couldn’t score, failing to make a field goal for more than four minutes as the Cardinal got within four.

Ramey ended the drought with his fourth 3, starting a game-breaking 14-2 run. He finished with 15, going 5 of 9 from the field and 4 of 8 from 3 after a 2-of-11, 6-turnover performance in the regular-season finale at UCLA.

Arizona found itself down 8-4 as early turnovers set the stage for Stanford’s scoring. Once the Wildcats settled down and established their paint presence it resulted in a 15-2 run, with a Ramey 3 giving them their first lead at 11-10.

The UA led 27-21 midway through the first half on a Ballo 3-point play before Stanford rattled off seven in a row to go back in front. The lead changed five more times before Arizona went on a 10-0 run—all from Henderson—to lead 45-35 with 1:40 left.

It was at the outset of that run that Kriisa had to go to the locker room, in visible pain on the court as he held his right shoulder.

Stanford made its last three shots before the half to cut the deficit to four, including a buzzer 3 by Michael Jones as the Cardinal made 8 of 15 from outside.

The Wildcats, 7-0 in revenge games under Lloyd, get another chance at redemption in the semifinals. Two weeks ago they lost 89-88 at home to the Sun Devils (22-11) on a 60-foot buzzer beater by Desmond Cambridge Jr., who had 25 points and hit six 3s against USC.