Feb 5, 2013 10:36 PM
(AP) - Arizona has clawed back into a tie for first place in the Pac-12 while Stanford is also harboring hopes of challenging for the title.
Both teams have won three straight, and the seventh-ranked Wildcats have won six in a row over the Cardinal heading into Wednesday night's matchup in Tucson.
Arizona (19-2, 7-2) is tied for first with No. 19 Oregon, and Stanford (14-8, 5-4) is two games back but gaining in confidence heading into a contest it probably needs to win to contend for the league crown.
"We came in with the goal of winning the Pac-12, and early on it might not have felt that way and it might not have looked that way, but I think guys have really stepped up and put it in their minds that we're going to be tough and fight this out," Stanford guard Chasson Randle said. "That's what we're in the process of doing right now."
The Wildcats have not lost to the Cardinal in more than four years. This is the lone regular-season matchup after Stanford shot a season-low 25.4 percent in last season's 56-43 home defeat.
Arizona coach Sean Miller has decided to make Kevin Parrom available Wednesday. Parrom, the Wildcats' top reserve, was ejected from Saturday's 79-65 victory with 10:42 left in the first half for a flagrant foul after throwing an elbow at a Washington State player.
Miller said Tuesday that he will not punish the senior further.
"We're very disappointed in Kevin," the coach said. "I've had numerous meetings with him throughout his career because as any fan of the Pac-12 knows, Kevin is a very physical player, a very unselfish player and sometimes he can react to physical play not in a positive way for the team, but a negative way. You'd like to think this will be the last incident that he will ever have along these lines."
Arizona is allowing opponents to shoot 34.9 percent from 3-point range for the Pac-12's second-worst mark. Stanford ranked last among Pac-12 teams in non-conference play at 27.3 percent on 3s, but the Cardinal have come on strong in conference games, shooting 44.9 percent to rank first.
Coach Johnny Dawkins' team made a season-high 14 3-pointers Sunday in an 81-73 victory over Oregon State.
"Making shots cures a lot," Dawkins said. "For our guys to see the ball going in has been a great thing. We have terrific shooters. We started the season not shooting as well as we'd anticipated and we've just had to grind through that."
The Cardinal also have an improving inside presence in Josh Huestis, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week. The junior forward is averaging 14.3 points and 11.0 rebounds during this win streak.
"I'm really proud of Josh and his overall development," Dawkins said. "He's a young man who works as hard as anybody on the team on his game, and it's shown in the results."
Arizona guard Nick Johnson led his team in scoring in three straight games but was hampered against the Cougars due to an illness and limited to six points. Xavier transfer Mark Lyons picked up the slack with a team-high 20.