Nnaji scores 21, grabs 11 boards as Arizona beats Stanford
Freshman Zeke Nnaji scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Arizona (18-7, 8-4 Pac-12) won its fifth in six games to move into a three-way tie for first place in the conference standings.
“You have to be able to overcome a poor shooting night, foul trouble, injuries, illness,” Miller said. “The definition of a really good season is that there's a lot of those moments in it, but you still find a way.”
The Wildcats had three players with four fouls, suffered through their third-worst shooting night of the season and still managed a victory by converting their free throws (26 of 31) and outrebounding the Cardinal 39-25.
Josh Green, who finished with 15 points for Arizona, was 3 of 6 from the field and made all eight of his free throws. Nnaji was 9 of 12 from the foul line.
“We all had foul trouble but we have guys who can come in and play very well,” Green said. “Jemarl (Baker) came in and did a great job. Having somebody who can come in at such a high level is great.”
Dylan Smith added 11 points for Arizona, which swept its fourth consecutive trip through the Bay Area.
“A road sweep in the Pac-12 is coveted,” Miller said. “Every group of guys that does it, you realize how hard it is.”
Bryce Wills scored a career-high 25 for the Cardinal (16-9, 5-7), who have lost four straight and seven of eight.
“It’s bittersweet for sure,” Wills said. “It’s unacceptable for us to get swept at home.”
Oscar da Silva, who sat out Thursday’s game with a head injury, added 15 points in limited action due to foul trouble. Tyrell Terry, who left the game with an injury and did not return, was limited to a season-low three points, his second game below 10 points this season.
“Our margin for error is razor thin,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. “Oscar not playing and Ty not there at the end makes us thin quickly. Bryce gave us a huge spark.”
The Wildcats never trailed, though it was close until the closing minutes. With da Silva playing about half the game, Arizona grabbed 13 offensive rebounds to Stanford’s three.
Arizona took a 10-point lead with 2:08 left in the first half and led 30-23 at halftime. Spencer Jones hit a 3-pointer and Wills added a basket in the first 65 seconds of the second half to pull the Cardinal within two but they would get no closer.
Arizona: The Wildcats have owned Stanford over the past decade, winning their 20th straight against the Cardinal, the longest active streak between two teams in the Pac-12. Stanford’s last victory in the series was a home win 11 years ago (January 4, 2009). … Nnaji recorded his conference-leading 12th double-double, which also ties him for second on Arizona’s all-time single-season list for freshmen.
Stanford: The Cardinal opened the season 11-1 at home and have since lost three of their past four, with the lone win over nationally-ranked Oregon. Stanford was once 4-0 and alone in first place in the conference and is now in a seventh-place tie. … Tyrell Terry played with fellow Minnesota native Zeke Nnaji at the AAU level.
Arizona: Hosts Oregon State on Thursday.
Stanford: Plays at Washington on Thursday.
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