TUCSON, AZ – Despite trailing by 11 at the half, a strong second-half surge by No. 11 Arizona (17-5, 8-3) helped propel the Wildcats over Stanford (11-10, 6-5) in its 82-71 win.
It isn't always how you start, but rather how you finish that matters, and for No. 11 Arizona Basketball, that was certainly the case.
In front of a sold-out crowd on Sunday evening, Arizona fell behind by as many as 11 in the first half, and luckily, the Wildcats didn't back down, slowly chipping away to come back and beat Stanford by an 82-71 final.
Led by Oumar Ballo's double-double, the Wildcats' big man had himself a day, finishing with 18 points, 13 boards, and two blocks.
Beyond him, Arizona got big contributions from Caleb Love and Pelle Larsson as well, finishing with 18 and 17 points respectively.
The Wildcats' bench played well on Sunday evening, finishing with a combined 23 points with freshman KJ Lewis leading the way with 12 points on 5-8 shooting. Lewis was a big part in fueling the Wildcats' comeback.
Weathering Stanford's hot shooting start, No. 11 Arizona Basketball was resilient, clawing its way back in its 11-point win!
Looking to earn a weekend sweep of the Bay Area schools, Arizona Basketball would be in store for quite the fight in this one!
Using the energy of a sold-out McKale Center, Arizona would climb out to an early 6-3 lead, but unfortunately, that wouldn't last long as Stanford would find its shooting touch, subsequently. answering with a 23-11 run after a fastbreak three from Benny Gealer made it 26-17, Stanford.
Responding with a 15-4 run of its own, Arizona would take the lead at 32-30, but once again, the Cardinal continued to hit big shots, finishing the half by outscoring the Cats 15-2 as they led 45-34 going into the half.
Needing to show some kind of life in the second half, Arizona would answer as they opened the second half on an 8-0 scoring run.
Unfortunately, Stanford would maintain its momentum for a bit; however, slowly but surely, Arizona clawed its way back in, taking the lead at 53-52 after Caleb Love converted on an and-one to give the Cats the lead.
Luckily, Arizona wouldn't look back either! Continuing to assert its dominance in the second half, the Wildcats would push its lead to eight after a driving layup from Pelle Larsson made it 67-59 with 5:16 to play.
Stanford would pull within four moments later, but Arizona would close out the game outscoring the Cardinal 13-6 to come away with the hard-fought, 82-71 win!
With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 17-5 (8-3) on the year and will resume conference action on Thursday as they begin a huge road trip to Utah followed by Colorado on Saturday. Tip-off against the Utes on Thursday is set for 6:00 PM MST and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.