Strong second half lifts Arizona past Cal

Las Vegas, NV ( - Stanley Johnson recorded 19 points and seven rebounds and No. 5 Arizona pulled away in the second half for a 73-51 victory over California in a Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal.

Brandon Ashley added 15 points and seven boards, while T.J. McConnell finished with 13 points and six assists to help the conference regular-season champion Wildcats advance to Friday's semis. Arizona (29-3) will face fourth-seed UCLA, which easily defeated USC in Thursday's second quarterfinal.

Just one week after being manhandled by the Wildcats by a 99-60 score in Tucson, California (18-15) gave Arizona a tougher test in Thursday's rematch before eventually wilting in the second half.

"We went out there, competed, played hard. We didn't give up like we did the last game," said Golden Bears guard Jabari Bird. "We weren't just going to let them come out in this game and step all over us. We kept it close for a little bit, but they made a run and we just didn't answer back."

Tyrone Wallace led Cal with 19 points and David Kravish pulled down 12 rebounds for the Golden Bears, who shot just 34.4 percent against Arizona's swarming defense.

California trailed just 33-30 after Bird sank a 3-pointer 34 seconds into the second half, but the Wildcats countered with a 13-2 run and the Golden Bears never got the deficit into single digits thereafter.

Johnson put up five straight Arizona points during the surge, including a trey that was followed by consecutive baskets from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and two Kaleb Tarczewski free throws that staked the Wildcats to a 46-32 lead with under 16 minutes to go.

"Once (we) got comfortable and set in -- saying we're going to get stops, we got out in transition -- that's when the game opened up," Johnson said.

Arizona later outscored the Golden Bears by a 14-4 margin over the final 4:38 to turn the game into a rout. McConnell began that spurt with a triple and accounted for seven of the Wildcats' points over the tear.

"On our end, I thought we were better in the second half than we were in the first half across the board," Arizona head coach Sean Miller said.

The Wildcats owned an 18-12 lead nine minutes in following an 8-0 run, but a pair of layups from Bird helped get Cal within one shortly afterward and the Golden Bears stayed in striking distance throughout the remainder of the first half.

Arizona was up by just two with two minutes left in the period, which it closed out strong. Johnson buried a jumper and after a free throw from Wallace, Ashley converted a 3-point play to send the Wildcats into the break owning a 33-27 advantage.

Game Notes

Ashley and Kravish were each assessed technical fouls after the two got into a shoving match under the basket with 2:42 left to play ... Arizona made good on 6-of-11 attempts from 3-point range, with Johnson going 3-for-5 and Gabe York making two of his three tries, and finished 15-of-17 from the foul line ...The Wildcats have reached the Pac-12 Tournament finals three times in the last four years, though they last won the event in 2002 ... Cal has now dropped six of its last eight games.