TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Ryan Luther scored 19 points and Arizona ended its longest losing streak in 36 years with a 76-51 victory over California Thursday night.
The Wildcats (15-12, 6-8 Pac-12) were solid defensively all night and turned on the offense in the second half to end a seven-game losing streak.
Arizona’s bench scored 31 points and the Wildcats made 17 of 29 shots in the second half for its first win since Jan. 19.
Luther led the second-half charge with 13 points and went 5 for 8 from the 3-point line overall.
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Cal (5-21, 0-14) had another ugly offensive night to lose its 15th straight game. The Bears shot 30 percent and went 6 for 26 from the 3-point arc to remain winless in the Pac-12 since last Feb. 8
Justice Sueing led the Bears with 18 points.
Arizona won the first meeting with Cal 87-65 in Berkley on Jan. 12.
Since then, the Wildcats have gone in tailspin, losing eight of nine to go from NCAA Tournament longshot to hoping for an NIT berth.
The Bears continued their slide after playing Arizona, losing nine straight to stretch their winless streak to 14 games.
Arizona and Cal played like two teams with a combined 21 straight losses early, clanking shots and trading turnovers.
The Wildcats got better.
The Bears didn’t.
Cal had a nearly six-minute span where it missed 11 of 12 shots and went 6 for 26 in the first half, including 2 of 13 on 3-pointers.
Arizona had similar troubles at the arc, going 4 for 15. The Wildcats made up for it by making 6 of 11 inside the arc and getting 15 points from their bench to lead 30-20.
Arizona stretched the lead to 43-25 with an early 11-0 run — eight by Luther — and used a short run later to go up 58-40.
Cal could be looking at a winless run through the Pac-12 if it doesn’t solve its offensive issues.
Arizona played the kind of game it needed to end a long losing streak, shutting down the Bears all night and finding its offensive flow in the second half.
Cal plays at Arizona State on Sunday.
Arizona hosts Stanford Sunday.
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