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McConnell guides Arizona past Russell, Ohio State

Mar 22, 2015 - 12:59 AM Portland, OR ( - An all-around effort by T.J. McConnell and Gabe York's 3-point shooting prowess helped Arizona beat Ohio State 73-58 and punch its ticket to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year.

McConnell had 19 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals, while York hit five 3s off the bench and also scored 19.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson posted 11 points and 10 rebounds for the second-seeded Wildcats (33-3), who have won 13 consecutive games and will face Xavier next week in the West Region semifinals.

"We've weathered a couple of storms," said Arizona coach Sean Miller. "I think we've learned in this region ... that we have to make sure we're sharp and ready to go."

Sam Thompson paced No. 10 seed Ohio State (24-11) with 18 points, but Big Ten Freshman of the Year D'Angelo Russell scored only nine points on 3-of-19 shooting.

"Obviously they were committing two guys to (Russell) off the ball screen and did a really nice job," said Ohio State coach Thad Matta. "You know, with that length, it was a little bit difficult to see around. But I thought he had some great looks at the basket. Unfortunately it was kind of one of those days for him in terms of the shots not going down."

The Wildcats started the second half 3-of-3 from 3-point range, including two by York. Kaleb Tarczewski's dunk off a pick-and-roll feed from McConnell made it 43-36 with 14:09 left.

Arizona then stretched its lead to 10 while holding Ohio State without a point for three-plus minutes. York later buried another trey to put the Wildcats up 52-39 with 9:55 remaining.

Ohio State cut its deficit to eight, but a 3 by Elliott Pitts sparked a 7-0 Arizona run.

Two free throws by Stanley Johnson, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, gave the Wildcats a 69-50 lead with 2:34 left.

Arizona wasn't sound with its ball security early as it committed four turnovers in the opening five minutes. The Wildcats, however, only trailed 5-4.

After falling behind by four, the Buckeyes went on a 16-6 run to build a 21-15 lead. Ohio State knocked down four consecutive field goals at one point during the spurt and went up six on a Russell layup with 6:27 remaining.

Arizona ended the frame on an 11-4 burst for a 26-25 advantage at the break.

Game Notes

Arizona lost to Ohio State in the Sweet 16 in 2013. LaQuinton Ross hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with two seconds left to lift the Buckeyes to a 73-70 win over the Wildcats in Los Angeles ... Arizona matched last year's squad for the second-most wins in program history ... The Wildcats scored 20 points off 12 Buckeyes turnovers ... Russell had seven rebounds and six assists ... The Buckeyes were outrebounded 43-26 by the Wildcats.