CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP)—Arizona’s Marcus Williams is making a habit of big games against Oregon State.
The sophomore forward had 23 points and No. 24 Arizona beat the Beavers 72-66 on Thursday night.
“Marcus Williams played one of the best games he’s played,” Wildcats coach Lute Olson said. “He let the game come to him.”
Ivan Radenovic had 19 points, making 13 of 16 free throws, and Jordan Hill added 12 points and 11 rebounds in his fourth start for Arizona (16-7, 7-5 Pac-10).
Sasa Cuic had a career-high 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting to lead Oregon State (9-16, 1-11), which has dropped seven games in a row and appears to be on its way to a 16th non-winning season in 17 years. But the Beavers hung around, playing their first competitive game since a 77-74 loss to California on Jan. 18.
“This game was very good for our confidence, very good for the flow of our game,” Cuic said.
Marcel Jones had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Beavers and Josh Tarver had 13 points and five assists.
The Wildcats have won two in a row. They had a 12-game winning streak interrupted with an overtime loss to Washington State, setting off a stretch where they lost six of eight until a 30-point win over Washington on Saturday.
The Beavers have lost 13 of their last 15 matchups with Arizona, including 83-72 on Jan. 11.
Williams led the Wildcats in that game, too, with a then-season high 27 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
He entered the game averaging 16.8 points and 7.1 rebounds, but has struggled from the field lately, including 4-of-11 and 4-of-12 games.
“I felt like I was shooting the ball well tonight,” Williams said. “Everything feels good, like it’s going to go in and I’m not going to miss.”
The Wildcats shot 61 percent and scored the final eight points before halftime to lead 36-28.
Arizona’s shooting cooled considerably after halftime, as the Wildcats missed 11 of their first 15 shots and ended up at 31 percent for the half.
Cuic and Tarver hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Beavers into a 45-all tie at 14:40.
Mustafa Shakur put Arizona up 57-51 with a 20-footer at 7:19 and Williams extended the lead to nine with a 3-pointer.
Kyle Jeffers converted a three-point play to get the Beavers within 64-60, but Williams hit a jumper at 1:19. Tarver hit a 16-footer and two free throws, but Jawann McClellan and Radenovic combined to make six foul shots and put the game away.
“We played to win, that was the important thing,” Oregon State Jay John said.
Oregon State shooting guard Wes Washington, back after sitting two games with a wrist injury, fouled out by the 15:38 mark of the second half.
Shakur had six points, seven assists and six steals. Jeffers had a career-best 13 rebounds for the Beavers.
Oregon State’s only conference win was on the road against winless Arizona State. The Sun Devils visit Gill Coliseum on Saturday.
The Wildcats, who play four of their six remaining regular-season games on the road, look to avenge a 79-77 loss to Oregon. Williams had a career-high 34 points last time out against the Ducks.