CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — One loss in Oregon was enough for fourth-ranked Arizona.
After falling to the Ducks on Thursday night, the Wildcats bounced back with an 80-70 victory over the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday.
“As a team, we didn’t let that (loss) affect us,” guard Mark Lyons said. “One loss isn’t going to hurt us, unless it’s in March.”
Solomon Hill had 16 points, including five 3-pointers for the Wildcats, who stepped up their defense to keep the Beavers winless in conference play. Lyons added 16 points and freshman Grant Jerrett had six blocks, a season high for the team.
Arizona (15-1, 3-1 Pac-12) was coming off a 70-66 defeat Thursday night just down the road against Oregon. While the Wildcats had pulled off several close victories, their luck ran out against the Ducks.
“They were storming the court, that’s hard to go through,” Jerrett said. “You just have to let it go.”
There was no nail-biting finish against the Beavers (10-6, 0-3), who trailed by as many as 17 points in their third straight loss. Ahmad Starks led Oregon State with 18 points.
“The focus is just not there,” said Devon Collier, who had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Beavers.
The Wildcats pulled ahead 13-6 early on Jerrett’s 3-pointer, but Oregon State did its best to keep up and pulled to 17-16 on Starks’ 3-pointer with 12:18 to go in the first half.
The Beavers closed to 24-23 on another 3 from Starks, but Hill answered with a 3-pointer for the Wildcats.
Lyons hit a layup that put Arizona up 32-27, but Langston Morris-Walker hit on a long jumper and Collier dunked on a fast break to keep Oregon State close.
Trailing 34-33, the Beavers had a chance to go ahead but Jamal Reid missed a pair of free throws. The Wildcats finished out with a 9-2 run to lead 43-34 at the break.
Brandon Ashley’s layup early in the second half pushed Arizona’s lead to double digits before Kevin Parrom’s 3-pointer made it 60-45 and Hill’s 3 extended the lead to 67-50 midway through the half. The Wildcats cruised the rest of the way.
Hill’s five 3-pointers were a career high.
“He is a great example of how you have to stay with it — and if you’re talented good things will come,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said about his 6-foot-7 senior forward who is averaging more than 13 points a game.
It was somewhat unusual for the Wildcats to win by such a margin.
The Wildcats defeated then-No. 5 Florida 65-64 back in mid-December on senior Mark Lyons’ heavily contested layup with 7 seconds left. Arizona got another one-point win over a ranked opponent when they beat San Diego State 68-67 at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.
To start the new year, a banked-in 3-pointer by Colorado’s Sabatino Chen at the end of regulation was waved off by the officials after a replay and the Wildcats went on to beat the Buffaloes in overtime. Then Arizona lucked out when what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer by Utah bounced off the rim for a 60-57 Wildcats win.
`’One of the things we didn’t do in the last three games was defend,” Miller said. “So it was good to see that in this one.”
Oregon State played for the second straight without sophomore forward Eric Moreland, who had started Oregon State’s first 14 games before he was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules along with teammate Victor Robbins.
Moreland, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, was averaging 10.8 points and 11.1 rebounds while Robbins played about 63 minutes off the bench in nine games this season.
Moreland sat on the bench for Saturday’s game dressed in street clothes.
Coach Craig Robinson would not say why the pair was suspended. Robbins was expected to return next Saturday at USC.
Robinson said he would decide on Monday when Moreland would return.
“I’ve been very pleased with their reaction, and their disappointment, and their contrition,” Robinson said.
Arizona is the highest ranked team Robinson has faced as head coach of the Beavers. Oregon State has upset a top five-ranked team 10 times, with the last two victories coming against Arizona in 2000 and 1989.