York’s big finish gives No. 18 Arizona comeback win over Cal
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Gabe York has been in a lot of big games for Arizona, and the senior guard ranks Thursday night’s win over California his best.
York made two 3-pointers in the final minute, the last to give his team the lead with 19 seconds to play, and the 18th-ranked Wildcats scored the final 11 points of the game to beat the 25th-ranked Bears 64-61.
Arizona coach Sean Miller called it “one of the great finishes that I’ve been a part of.”
And York was at the center of it.
After poor performances in Arizona’s losses at Colorado and Utah, he scored all 19 of his points in the second half as the Wildcats (23-7, 11-6) moved into a tie for third place with Cal (21-9, 11-6) in the Pac-12, although the Bears still hold the tiebreaker for seeding in the conference tournament.
“I’m not someone who’s always about myself, but for me, this would probably be No. 1,” York said, “a very hostile team that we lost to last time and I missed the game-winning shot, so I had a little chip on my shoulder coming into this game.”
York was also motivated by his play last week.
“As a shooter and scorer and whatever I’ve been labeled as,” York said, “I’ve been in the gym for countless hours every day after the Utah and Colorado losses, when I played so poorly. I couldn’t get it done for my team.”
Miller talked about the perception that York has not been good in these clutch situations.
“The different people saying that at the end of the game Gabe hasn’t necessarily come through, that maybe you need to give the ball to somebody else, et cetera,” Miller said. “He looked pretty good at the end of the game tonight, and he’s done it more times than you realize.”
Ryan Anderson had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Arizona, which had lost two straight, while Kaleb Tarczewski added 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Ivan Rabb had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Cal. Jabari Bird added 13 points and Jordan Mathews had 12 for the Bears, who seemed headed for their eighth straight win after an Arizona turnover led to Tyrone Wallace’s layup that put Cal ahead 61-53 with 1:52 to play.
The Bears, who beat Arizona in Berkeley earlier this season, never scored again.
“It’s’ a really tough loss for our guys,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said, “but I think we did a really good job down the stretch to do the things that we needed to do to win the game.”
Except to guard York closely outside the 3-point line. He made three 3s in the final 2:36.
“It was a poor job on our part chasing him off the screen,” Martin said. “We have to get him off the line. If anything, make him drive the ball, but he can’t catch and shoot a 3-pointer.”
Anderson’s three-point play cut the lead to 61-56 with 1:36 to play, then Wallace stepped on the baseline for a Cal turnover. York followed with a 3 to the deafening cheers in McKale Center and Cal’s lead was down to 61-59 with a minute to play.
The Bears worked the ball to star freshman guard Jaylen Brown, who was called for an offensive foul in the lane. Brown fouled out on the play and, after a timeout, York let fly from far beyond the 3-point line to give Arizona the 62-61 lead. Wallace missed on a drive in traffic, Tarczewski grabbed the rebound and the big Arizona center’s free throws with .7 seconds left completed the scoring.
Arizona, considered one of the best rebounding teams in the country, was outrebounded 44-31, including 18-11 on the offensive boards. The Bears had 28 second-chance points to the Wildcats’ 11.
Rabb’s first 3-pointer of the season — on his first attempt — started a 10-3 run that gave California its 61-53 lead.
Trailing 29-25 at halftime, Arizona started the second half with an 8-2 run, six of the points by York, and it was back and forth from then on.
California: Cal last swept two from Arizona in 2009-10. ... The Bears lost for the first time since being swept at Utah and Colorado on Jan. 27 and 31.
Arizona: The Wildcats haven’t lost three straight since 2009-10, Miller’s first season in Tucson. ... Arizona scored 64 points in its last two games, its fewest in Pac-12 play this season.
California: at Arizona State on Saturday.
Arizona: hosts Stanford on Saturday.