PHOENIX — Since Lute Olson retired in October, the Arizona Wildcats have been reading their basketball obituary.
Turns out they’re not dead yet.
Nic Wise scored a career-high 21 points, including three free throws in the final 31 seconds, as Arizona upset No. 4 Gonzaga 69-64 on Sunday.
Jordan Hill added 22 points and Chase Budinger scored 14 for the Wildcats (7-2), who beat a team ranked in the top four for the first time since Nov. 8, 2001, when they beat No. 2 Maryland.
“A lot of people have been counting us down,” Budinger said. “This kind of gives us hope that Arizona is not a lost team. We’re not a rebuilding-type team.
“The biggest thing is that it kind of puts us on the map.”
Under Olson, some Arizona fans came to believe that Tucson was the center of the college basketball universe. But the balance of power has shifted in recent years — and the once-mighty Wildcats felt like an underdog against the Bulldogs (7-1), who are no longer an up-and-comer in a fringe conference.
Arizona and Gonzaga met for only the third time — and the first since the top-seeded Wildcats held off the Bulldogs in a double-overtime thriller in the NCAA Tournament’s second round in 2003.
• No. 11 Wake Forest 66, Wright State 53 — At Winston-Salem, N.C., Harvey Hale had a season-high 17 points to help the Demon Deacons (9-0) beat the Raiders (2-7).
• No. 15 Villanova 70, La Salle 59 — At Philadelphia, Corey Stokes had 18 points and Scottie Reynolds scored 13 to lead the Wildcats (10-1) past the Explorers (4-4).
• No. 20 Arizona State 59, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis 58 — At Phoenix, Jeff Pendergraph and Derek Glasser scored all of ASU’s four points in overtime, and the Sun Devils (8-1) rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to edge the Jaguars (5-4).
MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
• Stanford 74, Colorado State 63 — At Fort Collins, Colo., Anthony Goods scored 23 points as the Cardinal (5-0) defeated the Rams (3-7).
• UNR 62, Southern Illinois 48 — At Reno, Armon Johnson scored eight of his 16 points in the final five minutes as the Wolf Pack (5-4) held off the Salukis (3-5).