LOS ANGELES -- Just when Arizona appeared to be in serious trouble against underdog Xavier, T.J. McConnell sparked his Wildcats back to the brink of the Final Four.
McConnell had 13 of his 17 points in the second half as second-seeded Arizona beat sixth-seeded Xavier, 68-60, in the West Regional semifinals last night.
Kaleb Tarczewski had 12 points and 12 rebounds and freshman Stanley Johnson also had 12 points as the Wildcats (34-3) weathered a major scare from the Musketeers (23-14) with a game-ending 19-7 run.
With its third Elite Eight berth in five years, Arizona gets another shot at its first Final Four under coach Sean Miller, who led Xavier for five years until 2009. Arizona, which has won 14 straight, has not made the Final Four since 2001.
The Wildcats will face top-seeded Wisconsin (34-3) tomorrow at Staples Center in a rematch of last season's West Regional final. "It's almost as if we had a summer to think about it, and we have to somehow make that to our advantage," Miller said.
Matt Stainbrook had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Xavier, which fell just short of its first trip to the Elite Eight since 2008. Those Musketeers were coached by Miller and assistant Chris Mack, who replaced his boss.
Xavier led 53-49 with seven minutes remaining, but the Wildcats responded with an 11-2 run that included a three-pointer from McConnell with 4:18 to play. Arizona held the Musketeers without a field goal for an 8:35 stretch.