Johnson, No. 3 Arizona squeak past Oregon St. - The Explorer: Sports

Johnson, No. 3 Arizona squeak past Oregon St.

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Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014 10:35 am

Nick Johnson scored a career-high 25 points Wednesday at Oregon State, but third-ranked Arizona found itself in a back-and-forth, grind-it-out contest.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored six of his 13 points off the bench over the final 3:45 - including the go-ahead layup with the game tied at 64 - and the Wildcats escaped with a 74-69 win over the Beavers at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came up big late for No. 3 Arizona, scoring six of his 13 points off the bench in the final 3:45.

The freshman forward's layup with the game tied at 64 put Arizona (28-2, 15-2 Pac-12) ahead for good.

Johnson made 8 of 18 shots - including 3 of 6 from the 3-point line - and added six rebounds and four assists. The Wildcats shot 42.1 percent from the field and missed 11 free throws in a game that featured six ties and four lead changes in the second half.

Trailing 58-51, OSU (15-14, 7-10 Pac-12) scored seven consecutive points to turn the final 8:13 into a nail-biter.

Roberto Nelson, who came in averaging just 7.4 points in his previous seven games against UA, showed why he is the league's leading scorer with 25 but needed 22 shots.

Devon Collier added 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for the Beavers, who lost despite securing 16 offensive rebounds for 24 second-chance points.

OSU shot 44.4 percent from the floor but missed 13 free throws and committed 17 turnovers.

The Wildcats scored the game's first seven points and it looked like it was going to be one of those nights. But the Beavers answered with their own 6-0 run, then threw a number of different defensive looks at UA including a zone and 1-3-1 press.

But despite an 8-of-21 start from the floor, Arizona owned a 23-18 lead with less than eight minutes to play. A big reason was the play of Johnson, who accounted for 14 first-half points and extended the lead to 9 on an alley-oop at the 3:53 mark.

But the junior had some help in the backcourt, too. After OSU pulled within two points inside the final minute, Gabe York pushed the advantage to 36-31 on his third 3-pointer of the half.

York finished with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting - all from beyond the arc.

UA took a 36-33 lead into the locker room.

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(Get all your Arizona Wildcats news at www.goazcats.com)

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