TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- Seemingly every game, Arizona goes on an emphatic run. Saturday against Pac-10 Conference rival Oregon was no different.
Playing in his final game at the McKale Center, Jason Gardner scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half as the top-ranked Wildcats rallied to defeat the Ducks, 88-80, for their season high-tying 10th straight victory.
"It's very satisfying to go out in my last game, hearing the fans chanting my name," Gardner said. "It was a great way to go out, a great feeling. It's kind of sad to be my last game here, but we still got a long road in front of us."
"Jason was just on fire," said fellow senior Rick Anderson, who had four points. "His heart, his attitude, his desire to win is so good."
Oregon held a three-point edge at halftime and a 54-49 advantage after a layup by Matt Short with 13 minutes remaining. But the Wildcats countered with a 17-2 burst over the next 6 1/2 minutes, taking the lead for good, 58-56, on an alley-oop dunk by freshman Hassan Adams after a feed by Gardner with 9:17 to play.
"It's fun having those spurts," Anderson said. "It's unexplainable. We have to create turnovers and we did. That will be the key to our run in the (NCAA) Tournament."
The Ducks committed 20 turnovers and had just 12 assists, while the Wildcats had 18 assists and 10 giveaways.
"It was tough on us because we left some baskets on the floor," Ducks coach Ernie Kent said. "Energy-wise we played well but we missed a lot of tough shots. We had too many turnovers in the paint today."
Salim Stoudamire scored 19 points and Channing Frye added 13 for the Wildcats (25-2, 17-1 Pac-10), who also won 10 straight games from December 28-January 25 before a loss to Stanford here on January 30. Arizona has not lost since.
"Finishing 17-1 in the conference is a great accomplishment for them," Arizona coach Lute Olson said of his senior class. "Now we have to make sure we don't tire ourselves out in Los Angeles (in next week's Pac-10 tournament) and take it one game at a time. I think that we are ready to make our move."
The Wildcats, who shot just 34 percent in the first half, connected on 55 percent of their attempts in the second half, including 6-of-8 from the arc. Arizona went 0-of-7 from 3-point range in the first half.
"Except for not hitting some of our shots, I thought that we played very well in the first half," Olson said. "We got a lot of good, high-percentage shots, but we just didn't make a lot of them. ... We were very unselfish throughout the game and we were much more patient with our shots in the second half."
Luke Ridnour contributed 26 points and Luke Jackson 12 and 14 rebounds for Oregon (20-9, 10-8), which has lost back-to-back games and may be in jeopardy of not receiving an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Ducks had won four of their previous six matchups against the Wildcats.
"I think we do have to win at least one next week," Ridnour said. "It's so close but we need to make a name for ourselves to get into the NCAA Tournament. It's really tough to be at this point."
"I still feel like we are in a good position for the NCAA Tournament," Jackson said. "(But) we're not going to take anything for granted yet. Next week will be big for us."