STANFORD, Calif. (AP)Spencer Jones scored all 18 of his points in the second half for Stanford and played a key role in neutralizing Pac-12 leading scorer Azuolas Tubelis, as the Cardinal stunned No. 4 Arizona 88-79 on Saturday night.
Stanford (11-14, 5-9 Pac-12) beat a ranked team for the first time this year and a top-four team for the first time since they topped No. 3 UCLA in 2007. Arizona (22-4, 11-4), hoping to stay a half-game behind UCLA for the conference lead, had a seven-game win snapped.
Courtney Ramey scored a season- and game-high 26 points for Arizona, which could not overcome Tubelis’ worst game of the season. The junior forward, who had 40 points against Oregon on Feb. 2 and had averaged a near double-double this season (20.9 points, 9.7 rebounds) to lead the conference in both categories, was held to four points.
Tubelis did not have a rebound and committed four fouls.
Stanford repeated a game plan that helped them stay close in a four-point loss to Arizona in last year’s conference tournament. They gave Arizona the perimeter and aggressively worked to keep the ball away from the 6-foot-11 Tubelis and 7-foot center Oumar Ballo, who was limited to eight points.
”They have big-time players, and on the inside, if they get paint touches, there’s nobody in the country who’s going to stop them,” Stanford head coach Jerod Haase said. ”So you’ve got to try to find a way to limit the touches inside.”
The result was forcing Arizona to attempt 35 3-pointers. They made 14, but as Ramey said, ”That’s not going to win us a lot of games. When we’re chucking up a lot of threes, we take it back to the drawing board.”
Stanford’s Michael O’Connell scored a career-high 22 points, helping the Cardinal outshoot the Wildcats 61% to 46% from the field. Brandon Angel added 14 points for Stanford, Maxime Reynaud had 13 points and Harrison Ingram contributed 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Pelle Larsson and Cedric Henderson Jr. scored 12 points apiece for the Wildcats.
Jones credited Arizona for keeping the ball away from him in a scoreless first half, the way the Cardinal did with Tubelis. But Jones’ teammates found a way after intermission to get their team’s leading scorer the ball.
Jones took command of a back-and-forth game a third of the way through the second half, scoring all 13 of Stanford’s points during a nearly seven-minute stretch that ended with a layup that gave the Cardinal a 67-66 lead with 7:35 remaining.
A 3-point play by Angel extended Stanford’s lead to 70-66 before a Ramey 3-pointer cut the lead to one.
But the Cardinal scored the next nine points, punctuating the run with a wide-open 3-pointer by O’Connell that extended their lead to 79-69 with 3:28 left.
”You could feel the energy in the gym,” O’Connell said. ”Everyone’s mood kind of changes and gets more confidence on the offensive side and the defensive side.”
Stanford limited Arizona to 3 for 9 shooting over the final 5:42 of the game.
Arizona: The Wildcats have to find a way to make halftime adjustments when their interior scorers spend the first 20 minutes being denied the ball. Future opponents are going to watch a lot of tape from Saturday’s game to see how Stanford did it.
Stanford: The Cardinal passed a huge test in their win over the No. 4 team in the country by not folding after Arizona used a 9-0 run late in the first half to take a 44-35 lead.
Stanford: Visits No. 7 UCLA on Thursday.
Arizona: Hosts Utah on Thursday.
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