The road to a national championship just got lot tougher for Arizona, which lost forward Brandon Ashley for the rest of the season after he suffered a broken foot in Saturday’s defeat at California.
The 6-10 sophomore averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 22 games. Standout freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who is averaging 8.0 rebounds and 5.4 rebounds, will likely replace Ashley in the lineup.
Arizona is the only Pac-12 team that can lose a former McDonald’s All-American and replace him with another former McDonald’s All-American.
Still, losing Ashley is a major blow. The Wildcats have mostly relied on a seven-man rotation. They’ve pummeled teams with their superior front line, but now coach Sean Miller is considering using more three-guard lineups that would include reserve sharp-shooter Gabe York.
MONDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Freshman Hallice Cooke scored 14 of his season-high 20 points in the second half and sank the go-ahead basket with 6:12 left to lead Oregon State to a 71-67 win over UCLA. Eric Moreland finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds and Angus Brandt added 13 points as the Beavers (13-8, 5-4 Pac-12) closed out the first half of league play with their first home sweep of the Los Angeles schools since the 1989-90 season. It’s the first time OSU is over .500 at the midpoint in conference play in 15 years.
— After a lackluster effort, Coach Steve Alford verbally ripped UCLA (17-5, 6-3), which blew a chance to gain ground on first-place Arizona (21-1, 8-1) in the Pac-12 standings. The Bruins are tied with California (15-7, 6-3) at second. UCLA trailed 67-66 and had the ball when Jordan Adams plowed into Brandt as he drove to the basket and was called for an offensive foul, spoiling a chance for the Bruins to regain the lead with 14.2 seconds to play. Kyle Anderson led the Bruins with 18 points and 9 rebounds.
— Washington is in five-way tie for fourth place in the Pac-12 standings.