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Gabe York celebrates one of his school-record-tying nine three-pointers made against Stanford yesterday.
Since McKale Center opened its doors on Feb. 1, 1973, the Wildcats have featured 19 performances in which at least 35 points or more were scored in the hallowed arena.
Gabe York came only three points shy of joining that club consisting of 12 players yesterday in Arizona’s 94-62 rout of Stanford. To the sellout crowd who attended the game, one in which York had one of the greatest individual performances in Wildcat history, the 32 points by the senior guard will suffice.
It belongs in the same paragraph with Al Fleming scoring an Arizona-player McKale Center-record 41 points against a Detroit team coached by Dick Vitale on Jan. 10. 1976. York’s performance conjured images of when Khalid Reeves torched Michigan and some members of its Fab Five with 40 points on Dec. 23, 1993.
The very day McKale opened its doors, freshman shooting sensation Coniel Norman christened the building with 37 points in an 87-69 win over Wyoming. Norman, an avid Arizona follower, likely watched yesterday’s game and was amazed by York. And this is a guy who made 17 of 22 field goal attempts against Wyoming, most from long range well before the three-point line was instituted.
The 17 shots made by Norman stands as a McKale Center record, tied twice by Larry Demic, against Southwestern Louisiana in 1978 and Washington in 1979.
York’s nine three-pointers, dare I write Stephen Curry-esque, puts him in the same category as the most accurate long-range Arizona shooter of them all — Salim Stoudamire. In eerily similar fashion, York’s nine three-pointers on Senior Day matched Stoudamire’s Senior Day effort against Oregon State on Feb. 20, 2005. He finished with 31 points in Arizona’s 91-70 victory.
THREE-POINT FIELD GOALS CAREER
THREE-POINT GOALS SEASON
“Salim was disgustingly good,” teammate Channing Frye, who also played in his last game at McKale Center that day, told the media afterward. “They were trying so hard to keep him from shooting. There is only so much they could do.”
“Disgustingly good”, may be a way of describing York’s shooting performance against Stanford yesterday. But with the good-boy image he portrays — he ended yesterday’s press conference saying he loved is mom — perhaps “beautifully good” works?
Stoudamire, who will be inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor this week during the conference tournament in Las Vegas, also had 37 points against Washington on March 12, 2005, in the postseason tourney in Los Angeles.
Stanford has fallen victim plenty of times to standout performances by an Arizona player at McKale Center, including Bennett Davison’s school-record nine steals on Senior Day in 1998. Arizona beat the Cardinal 90-58 in that game.
Sean Elliott twice scored 35 points against the Cardinal at McKale Center in 1987 and 1989. Joe Nehls also had 35 against Stanford at McKale in 1980.
York’s achievement of nine three-pointers and 32 points should rank as his best overall, surpassing the many individual triumphs he had at Orange Lutheran High School in the Los Angeles area. He scored 42 points in one game against Dewey, one of six games he scored at least 30 points as a senior. He made six three-pointers in that game.
His nine shots from beyond the arc yesterday were one more than he made all of his freshman season at Arizona, a point and time in his career when he may have questioned if Tucson was the place for him. He stuck it out. He became legendary with his performance yesterday.
Thank you Arizona, Thank you Mckale, thank you to everyone who made this special. Words can't describe what this meant to me. #BearDown
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.