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01/30/2014 9:29 AM EST
No. 1 Arizona survives to beat Stanford 60-57
ARIZONA 60, STANFORD 57

By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- For nearly 9 minutes, Arizona made
defensive stop after stop. In that critical sequence, the
top-ranked Wildcats held Stanford scoreless and helped preserve
their perfect start to the season.

This confident, unbeaten group believes it should be doing that
all game long. For Arizona, three straight defensive stops is
called a "kill."

Nick Johnson kept Arizona's unblemished record going for another
game, hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer with 51 seconds remaining and
two free throws with 5.8 seconds left as Arizona survived for a
60-57 victory Wednesday night for its school-record 21st
straight win.

"We're an outstanding defensive team. It isn't as if we changed
any scheme, we just buckled down and had a lot of players
playing very hard, and our ability to hold them to what we did
is a big reason we won. Our defense won the game tonight,"
Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "No question we have to execute
better on offense and we have to be more confident at the line."

After Johnson hit a jumper in the middle of the key with 2:36
remaining to make it 55-53, Dwight Powell answered on a baseline
drive with 1:21 to go before Johnson delivered once more.

Johnson finished with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists
and T.J. McConnell added 11 points, eight rebounds and four
assists for Arizona (21-0, 8-0 Pac-12), off to the program's
best start in conference play in more than a decade.

Arizona is one of three unbeaten teams left in Division I,
joining No. 2 Syracuse, which also won Wednesday night.
Fourth-ranked Wichita State hasn't lost either.

Powell and Josh Huestis each scored 13 points for Stanford
(13-7, 4-4), which outshot Arizona 38 percent to 36 percent.

"For 38 minutes, I thought we were right there," Stanford coach
Johnny Dawkins said. "Credit Arizona for making the plays they
had to make at the end. Nick Johnson stepping up, whether at the
foul line or whether it was a 3-point bucket late. I've watched
a lot of tape of them, he's done it all year."

Johnson missed a free throw with 28 seconds left and Stanford
called timeout. Huestis missed a 3 from the left wing and Aaron
Gordon secured the rebound, but he also missed a free throw
giving the Cardinal one final shot.

Chasson Randle missed a long 3 just before the final buzzer for
Stanford.

After a 3-pointer by Huestis with 10:03 remaining, Stanford
didn't score again until Powell's layin at 1:21 - and Powell
missed two free throws at 4:36 that would have put his team
ahead.

"That's what we should have done the whole game. We came out a
little lackadaisical and after that we turned it up when the
sense of urgency turned up, and after that we kind of locked
down," Gordon said. "It was good to come on the road and get a
win, regardless of whether we won by 20 or we won by three like
we did."

Arizona, ranked No. 1 for a school-record eighth consecutive
week, overcame a slow start on the way to an eighth straight win
against Stanford.

The Cardinal beat two Top 25 teams already with victories at
then-No. 10 Connecticut and at then-No. 17 Oregon earlier this
month.

But not this time given their struggles in the waning moments at
Maples Pavilion, which hosted a No. 1 men's team for the first
time since losing 72-69 to Arizona on March 1, 2003.

The Wildcats had a large contingent of fans in the crowd
cheering "U of A! U of A!"

Anthony Brown beat the halftime buzzer with a basket to put
Stanford ahead 31-30. Arizona had trailed at halftime several
times already this season only to produce a big second half.

Arizona is on such a roll the players expect to win, even when
they might not be at their best in a hostile environment.

"One of the things we need to do is play defense at a high level
more consistently and I think that will help us out a lot,"
forward Brandon Ashley said. "When we were down, we weren't
thinking about being down. For any team to be competitive, at
any level, you have to be confident in yourself."

Stanford's last home win against a No. 1 team came against
Arizona, 82-74, on Feb. 4, 1988.

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