(TUCSON, Ariz.) — The Arizona Wildcats pulled out all the stops to avoid their first losing streak of the season.
Nick Johnson scored 18 points as the No. 2 Wildcats edged Oregon 67-65 on Thursday night.
The team was playing without injured forward Brandon Ashley for the first time all season. They looked lost at first, but managed to dig deep and hang on for the win.
“Our defense down the stretch is what we rely on,” said Johnson. “We have all year.”
Arizona (22-1, 9-1 PAC-12) shot just 4 for 16 from 3-point range and missed 16 free throws on the night. Point guard T.J. McConnell drilled a 3-pointer with 90 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats the lead.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 14 points and 10 rebounds in his first start in place of Ashley.
Joseph Young and Jason Calliste each scored 14 points for Oregon, (15-7, 3-7) who managed to hang tough in one of college basketball’s toughest road arenas.
“They’re hurting,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “This is their third two-point loss. I just told them we’ve got to be resilient. It hurts having an opportunity and not being able to finish.”
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Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN