No. 8 Arizona got their revenge on Friday night, and now the Wildcats have their revenge.
Azuolas Tubelis scored 17 points as Arizona beat Arizona State 78-59 in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament semifinals.
The Wildcats (27-6) get a championship rematch against No. 2 UCLA on Saturday night. Arizona beat the Bruins 84-76 last year for the title.
“Obviously there’s an incredible rivalry there,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said. “I think there is mutual respect between the two programs. … I’m sure they’ll be two teams that will probably be a bit worn down, probably both dealing with injuries, but that’s kind of what tournament playoff basketball is like. We know it will be a big challenge and we look forward to the opportunity to perform on the big stage.”
Arizona point guard Kerr Kriisa is one of those stoned players. He played the second straight game with a shoulder injury, finishing with five points and seven assists.
“I think it’s something that will get better every day,” Lloyd said. “I saw him do threes in the shoot-around today, so I don’t know how physical it is, how mental it is. I know, when it’s in play if he has an opening look, I usually feel pretty good.”
Arizona State (22-12) must be hoping its resume is good enough to sway the committee on Sunday when it brings together the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley explained his team was selected, saying Arizona State had a proven track record with quality wins on the road or at neutral sites.
“I really believe if you get our three best wins and compare them to other bubble teams, I don’t think it’s close,” Hurley said. “I think these guys deserve it. … So hopefully, with everything I’ve said, we’ll have a very, very good chance of making the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona sophomore coach Tommy Lloyd has remained perfect in Las Vegas, where he is 8-0, including 7-0 at T-Mobile Arena and 5-0 at the Pac-12 Tournament.
Oumar Ballo added 14 points, 10 rebounds for the Wildcats. Cedric Henderson Jr. also scored 14 points and Pelle Larsson 11.
Frankie Collins and Jamiya Neal each scored 11 points for Arizona State.
Although this game was close most of the time, it wasn’t as intense as the most recent encounter. Arizona State won that Feb. 25 meeting in Tucson when Desmond Cambridge Jr. fired a 60-foot buzzer shot.
Arizona finally put an end to all doubts with a 12-2 run late in the second period to take a 68-54 lead.
THE BIG PICTURE
Arizona State: The Sun Devils entered the game 11th nationally holding their opponents at 39.3 percent, but that defense was more than tested by Arizona. The Wildcats shot 56.4 percent, including 52.6 percent from 3-point range, and led for nearly 1:43 of the game.
Arizona: In addition to the Wildcats shooting from the outside, they were just as dominant on the inside. They outscored Arizona State 40-22 in the hallway and edged the Sun Devils 44-30.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils may have done enough to make the NCAA Tournament, after beating Michigan, Creighton and Arizona in the regular season and beating Oregon State and Southern California this week.
Arizona: The Wildcats could get an NCAA No. 2 seed if they beat UCLA.
. LArizona bat lASU gets matches revenge for title with lUCLA