- Associated Press - Monday, March 3, 2014

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Stanford’s rough week in the desert ended with the Cardinal watching No. 3 Arizona celebrate clinching the Pac-12 regular-season championship.

The Cardinal, beaten at Arizona State on Wednesday night, fell behind early against the Wildcats and never caught up in a 79-66 loss Sunday night.

“It’s tough,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “They have experienced players out there with (T.J.) McConnell and (Nick) Johnson, who have been through a lot and know how to play with a lead. They’re poised, they don’t’ rush, they get good shots, and they’ve been an outstanding defensive team all year.”

Aaron Gordon, in almost certainly his final game of a one-and-done freshman season for Arizona, had 19 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.

McConnell added 14 points, Gabe York 12, Johnson 11 and Kaleb Tarczewski 10 for the Wildcats (27-2, 14-2).

“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: Johnson and freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

While Arizona entertains thoughts of a national title, Stanford finds itself in a logjam in the middle of the Pac-12 standings as it fights for an NCAA tournament bid.

“We just have to take it one game at a time,” said Dawkins, whose team finishes the regular season with home games against Colorado and Utah. “Hopefully we’re doing that and putting ourselves in a position to finish as high as we possibly can.”

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.

“They had a great environment and they played very well,” Dawkins said. “They got off to a fast start and were able to maintain that throughout the game.”

After struggling following the season-ending injury to Brandon Ashley, Arizona has won in impressive fashion in one-sided games against Colorado, California and Stanford.

“We’re clicking on all cylinders right now,” Johnson said. “We want to go down in Arizona history as one of the best teams ever.”

The difference has been when the Wildcats have the ball.

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