With coach Sean Miller back on the job and Allonzo Trier reinstated, No. 19 Arizona clinched at least a share of the Pac-12 title with a 75-67 victory over Stanford on Thursday night.
Dusan Ristic scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half. Ristic, a senior, set a school record by participating in his 111th victory. Trier, reinstated by the NCAA after a two-game suspension, added 18 points for the Wildcats (23-7, 13-4 Pac-12) and Deandre Ayton, the freshman who leads the Pac-12 in scoring and rebounding, had 12 points and 10 boards.
Arizona has won or shared the conference regular season title five times since 2010-11 and beat Stanford for the 17th straight time. The Wildcats can clinch the title outright by beating California on Saturday night or if USC loses to UCLA.
Arizona clinched the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament because the Wildcats beat USC in their only meeting this season.
Reid Travis scored 23 points for the Cardinal. The loss for Stanford (16-14, 10-7) was a blow to the Cardinal's hopes for a top-four finish in the conference and a first-round bye next week.
Miller returned after a one-game absence, getting a loud welcome from the McKale Center throng as he entered the arena, waving to the fans as his players smiled and clapped.
Earlier in the day, Miller read a statement to reporters vehemently denying he had approved payment to Ayton, or any player, in his time at Arizona. The university's president said an examination of the facts found no evidence of Miller wrongdoing and the school was standing by its coach.
ESPN said it is standing by its report that a wiretap shows Miller talking about a $100,000 payoff to Ayton. Ayton has denied that anything was given to him to attend Arizona.
Ristic scored nine in a 16-3 run that put the Wildcats up 35-23 on Trier's 12-footer in the lane with 2:02 to play in the half. Arizona led 37-28 at the half behind Ristic's7-of-8 shooting.
Miller called time out after Stanford's Oscar Da Silva was alone inside for a dunk that gave the Cardinal their last lead, 20-19, with 9:58 left in the first half. Arizona clamped down its defense and Stanford scored just three points in the next 7 1/2 minutes.
The decisive run came with Ayton on the bench with two fouls. Ayton, who fouled out in Arizona's 75-73 win at Stanford on Jan. 20, sat out 8 minutes of the first half.
The Cardinal kept the deficit to single digits most of the second half and were down 69-64 after Daejon Davis' dunk with 1:04 to play. Trier made four from the line and Ayton two to finally put the game away.
at Washington State 78, Oregon 76: Malachi Flynn scored 28 points with eight rebounds and five assist as Washington State held on.
at Arizona State 84, California 53: Romello White had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Arizona State pulled away .
at Washington 79, Oregon State 77: Noah Dickerson scored 15 of his 25 points in the second half to help the Huskies escape.
USC fends off feisty Washington State 47-44
Minyon Moore scored 16 points and Aliyah Mazyck scored 14 to lead seventh-seeded USC to a 47-44 win over Washington State on Thursday night in the first round of the Pac-12 Women's Tournament.
The Trojans advance to play No. 2 seed Stanford on Friday.
Borislava Hristova started the fourth quarter with a three-point play and a layup to put the Cougars up 36-35 with 8:55 left. Sadie Edwards put USC up for good with a pair of free throws and Kisten Simon followed with a layup for 39-36 margin. Moore's jumper with 6:05 left made it 41-36 and neither team scored for two minutes.
Nike McClure hit a shot to bring Washington State within 41-38, Moore responded with a three and McClure followed that with a three-point play. Sadie Edwards' free throw made it 45-41 and McClure countered with another three-point play with 46 seconds to go.
On the next Trojans (19-10) possession, Kirsten Simon and Sadie Edwards missed attempts but USC corralled offensive rebounds off both and forced the Cougars to foul. Moore ended the game with a layup and the Cougars never got another shot off.
Simon grabbed 12 rebounds and Jordan Adams grabbed 10.
McClure led 10th-seeded Washington State (10-19) with 12 points.
PAC-12 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Colorado 66, Utah 56: Kennedy Leonard had 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and five steals for Colorado.
California 71, Washington 68: Cal overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to hold off Washington’s upset bid. Asha Thomas scored 22 points for the Bears.
Arizona State 76, Arizona 47: The sixth-seeded Sun Devils routed their conference rivals. Arizona State was led by Kianna Ibis with 13 points and two rebounds and Sophia Elenga, who had 11 points and two rebounds.
Friday at Key Arena, Seattle
TV: Pac-12 Networks
No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 9 Colorado, 11:30 a.m.
No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 5 California, 2 p.m.
No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 7 USC, 6 p.m.
No. 3 Oregon State vs. No. 6 Arizona State, 8:30 p.m.