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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 23 Arizona defeats Washington State 79-64

Rebecca Noble
Arizona forward Ryan Anderson (12) jumps over Washington State forward Josh Hawkinson during Arizona’s 90-66 win against Washington State on Jan 16. Anderson scored a career high 31 points during Arizona’s 79-64 win at Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum on Feb. 2.


The Arizona men’s basketball program wanted a quick and easy trip to Pullman. Get in and get out with a win.

The Wildcats spent Wednesday morning in Spokane, practicing at Gonzaga’s old gym.

When Arizona arrived at Washington State’s Beasley Coliseum late in the afternoon, a plane was already waiting in nearby Lewiston, Idaho to take the team to Seattle.

As for that evening matchup against the Pac-12 Conference’s bottom place Cougars? Nothing but a pit-stop on a long northwest road trip.

Playing in front of a reticent, spotty crowd, Arizona left Pullman with a convincing 79-64 victory over the Cougars.

No more than 4,000 people were in attendance to see senior Ryan Anderson lead Arizona with a career-high 31 points while Gabe York and Mark Tollefsen both added double digits.

“Any time it’s a crowd like that you have to bring your own energy,” Anderson said. “You know, for me this was my one and only time coming to Pullman and playing Washington State.”

Anderson made the most of the short visit – the team spent a total of five-and-a-half hours in town – as he controlled the Cougars in the paint, making 10 of 16 attempts and scoring another 11 points at the free throw line.

Anderson finished with a handful of and-ones, including a poster-hanging two-hand slam midway through the second half that put the Wildcats up 56-37.

That would wind up being Arizona’s biggest lead of the night.

On the defensive side, the UA limited Washington State’s top scorer, Josh Hawkinson, to 14 points on six of 12 shooting.

After the game, Arizona head coach Sean Miller expressed satisfaction with the team’s defensive outing.

“Our defense numbers wise was really good,” Miller said. “I thought we got back in transition which is a big emphasis for us.

Added Miller, “No team in the country is working harder to become better defensively than us.”

Arizona’s win did not come without any drama, as the UA had to battle through foul trouble and an injury bug.

Kadeem Allen, Arizona’s go-to starting point guard, was ineffective for most of the night after dealing with an illness for the past couple days, according to Miller.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright started in place of Allen, who fouled out of the game in the second half despite only being on the court for a total of seven minutes.

“I recently have asked myself what more can happen to this team in terms of injuries or illness,” Miller said. “Sure enough, I got my answer. To come out on the road without him, Elliott [Pitts], Allonzo [Trier]… eventually you’re going to run out of bodies.

Jackson-Cartwright for his part played one of his more efficient games, ending with seven points, four assists and zero turnovers.

The game got off to an ominous start for the Wildcats, when Washington State turned the opening jump ball into an and-one opportunity. 

The next few minutes featured a sluggish pace between the two teams, benefiting Washington State. The Cougars held a 17-9 lead midway through the half. 

The Wildcats eventually caught a rhythm offensively and tied the score, before a 10-2 run in the half’s final minutes propelled the UA to a 39-30 lead at intermission. 

In the second half, Arizona expanded its lead to as many as 19 points on Anderson’s dunk, but Washington State closed the score to single digits with under nine minutes to go.

However, Arizona regained its control and never let the margin fall below double digits down the stretch.

By the time the final buzzer sounded, signaling Arizona’s sixth Pac-12 Conference win of the season, Arizona’s managers were racing the team locker room to pack luggage.

Next stop: Seattle. 

Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter

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