Cal loses 87-59 in rematch against No. 3 Arizona

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - California knew Arizona would be angry after what the Bears did to the Wildcats in Berkeley.

They were and once the third-ranked Wildcats got rolling, Cal had no way of stopping them.

Arizona took control with a big first-half run and never gave Cal a chance for a last-second victory in the rematch, sending the Bears to an 87-59 loss Wednesday night.

“They were solid and a little angry having lost to us,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. “They’re making shots now and at our place they weren’t making all their shots. They’re playing really well right now.”

Cal won the first meeting 60-58 on a last-second jumper by Justin Cobbs that sent the students pouring onto the court.

Arizona (26-2, 13-2 Pac-12) ran away from the Bears early in the rematch, jumping out to a 15-point point lead while shooting well all night to prevent the season sweep.

Nick Johnson had 22 points after struggling against Cal the first time and Kaleb Tarczewski added 16 points for the Wildcats, who pulled out a tough win at Utah and routed Colorado last week.

T.J. McConnell finished with 13 points and six assists - he has 22 assists and one turnover in three games - and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson provided a lift off the bench with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Johnson also had seven rebounds and five assists after scoring four points on 1-of-14 shooting the first game against Cal.

“Obviously, we played very well tonight, one of our best games of the season,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “You might make the argument that the game against Colorado and tonight’s game were the best back-to-back games we’ve played all season.”

Cal (18-10, 9-6), struggled at times against Arizona’s defensive pressure and had little chance of stopping the Wildcats at the other end to lose for the 17th time in 19 games at McKale Center.

Arizona shot 50 percent against the Bears and had a 42-25 rebounding advantage, including 15 on the offensive glass.

“It’s all mental for us and when we don’t prepare mentally for a game, stuff like that happens,” said Cobbs, who led Cal with 12 points.

Arizona wanted a little revenge after what happened in the first meeting against Cal.

The Wildcats entered the Feb. 1 game with the No. 1 ranking and a school-record 21-game winning streak. They left Berkeley with their first loss of the season - thanks to Cobbs‘ stepback jumper with 0.9 seconds left - and Ashley in a walking boot after he injured his right foot going up for a rebound in the first half.

Ashley is done for the season, but Arizona has found ways to win without him, picking up three victories in four games, including Sunday’s 88-61 blowout at Colorado.

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