Jan. 2, 2003
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Even without Luke Walton, No. 4 Arizona was too much for No. 9 Oregon.
Jason Gardner scored 21 points as Arizona rallied to beat Oregon 81-72 Thursday night, snapping the Ducks' 23-game home winning streak.
With the score tied at 70, Gardner and Rick Anderson hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Wildcats (8-1) a 76-70 lead with 1:20 to go and Arizona led the rest of the way in the Pac-10 opener for both.
Anderson, who Arizona leaned on to replace the injured Walton, added 15 points. Freshman Hassan Adams and sophomore Isiah Fix each had 11.
Gardner, who had eight points in the first half, rallied the Wildcats in the second.
"That's when Jason really stepped up," coach Lute Olson said. "But also, the composure of some of the younger guys to step up in the toughest place to play in the Pac-10 was impressive."
The last team to beat the Ducks (9-2) at historic McArthur Court was Southern California on Feb. 24, 2001. The 23-game winning streak matched the school record set from Feb. 13, 1937 to Jan. 6, 1939.
"I thought this was the game of the year for us to win," Anderson said. "It gives us an advantage in the Pac-10 because we've won in the hardest place there is to play."
Luke Jackson led the Ducks with 20 points, while Luke Ridnour added 16.
"It's tough when you're missing gimmes and they're going down and making the tough shots," Ridnour said. "We knew this one was going to be tough."
Oregon led by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Arizona chipped away before tying it at 57 on Andre Iguodala's steal and slam with 12:20 to go.
Arizona tied it again at 59-all, but couldn't manage to take the lead and Oregon went up 65-61 on Jackson's 3-pointer with 8:44 left.
With both teams clearly fatigued, Arizona took a 68-67 lead on Dennis Latimore's lay-in with 3:52 left, then extended it on Hassan Adam's slam.
James Davis tied it at 70-all with a 3-pointer before Arizona pulled ahead for good.
"When you play a team the caliber of Arizona, everybody has to give you something. Everybody needs to find a way to contribute," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "We needed a little bit more out of our big guys, particularly in the area of rebounding."
Arizona out-rebounded Oregon 50-28.
Arizona led by as many as five until midway through the first half, when Andre Joseph's second of two consecutive 3-pointers put the Ducks in front 22-20. Davis added another 3-pointer to make it 25-20 with 8:36 left.
Oregon stretched the lead 34-26 on Ridnour's 3-pointer with 5:35 to go, but Arizona kept it close and squeezed the margin to 41-37 on Isiah Fox's rebound basket as time ran out in the half.
Oregon went up 57-46 at 14:34 of the second half on Ridnour's 3-pointer, but Gardner answered with his own 3-pointer for the Wildcats.
Walton sprained his right ankle Monday night in the Wildcats' 85-71 victory over Boston University in the Fiesta Bowl Classic. He suited up against the Ducks and participated in pre-game warmups, but did not play.
Arizona, which spent the first six weeks of the season as the nation's No. 1-ranked team, is 3-0 against ranked teams. The Wildcats' loss was at Louisiana State on Dec. 21.
The victory snapped Arizona's three-game losing streak at Mac Court.
Oregon had won three straight after its only other loss of the season, to Cincinnati on Dec. 17.
Fox and Adams each added 12 points for Arizona, while Joseph and Robert Johnson each had 11 for Oregon.