TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - If this was Aaron Gordon’s final home game at Arizona, and it almost certainly was, then he went out in style.
And took the Pac-12 regular-season championship trophy with him.
Gordon, expected to turn pro after a one-and-done freshman season, scored 19 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds to help the No. 3 Wildcats clinch the conference title with a 79-66 victory over Stanford on Sunday night.
“It feels good,” Gordon said, “but it’s not the final stop on our destination.”
The Wildcats (27-2, 14-2), who won by just three at Stanford a month ago, completed an unbeaten home season in what also could have been the final McKale Center game for two other players: junior Nick Johnson and freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Then coach Sean Miller spoke briefly to the crowd.
“The season is far from over,” he said. “Let’s hope this is the beginning of a long, long run.”
Miller, who has brought in one standout recruiting class after another, knows all too well how short college careers are for the game’s best players.
“The agreement that we have right now is to focus on the task at hand,” he said. “Part of what’s going to help these guys get what they want individually is to be on a spectacular team. Today’s Pac-12 championship is part of that path.”
He said that once the dust has settled this spring, he will sit down with the players and their families to map out the future.
“‘What I hope is that anybody who would ever leave early would never be a second-round pick,” Miller said. “That’s a devastating blow to the next 50 years of their life.”
Josh Huestis matched his career high with 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Stanford (18-10, 9-7).
Anthony Brown added 14 points and Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell had 12 apiece for the Cardinal, who trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half and 25 in the second.