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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Block party

Forward Derrick Williams had helped his No. 12 Wildcats win by his scoring and rebounding before.

But in a highly anticipated game against the Washington Huskies (18-8, 10-5 Pacific 10 Conference), it was his clutch defensive play that prevailed. Williams sent a hook shot from UW’s Darnell Gant into the stands with 0.2 seconds remaining to secure Arizona’s 87-86 victory in a whited-out McKale Center Saturday, moving the Wildcats (23-4, 12-2 Pac-10) to a perfect 15-0 record at home.

Off the final inbounds pass, it was again Williams who tipped the ball into the air as the clock expired. He finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds and seven turnovers.

“”Basically, coach was like … don’t foul him close to the basket,”” Williams said. “”They’re going to shoot it, get ready to get the defensive rebound or block it. Good thing it wasn’t goal tending.””

That defense was made possible by a wild play beforehand.

UA forward Solomon Hill found a loose ball under the basket after point guard Momo Jones dished to forward Jesse Perry, who got his shot blocked. But it was blocked into the hands of Hill under the basket for a lay-in with 24 seconds to play, giving Arizona the go-ahead, 87-86, lead.

“”My man was looking (away),”” Hill said. “”He wasn’t really paying attention to me. I just stayed on the block.””

It was evidence of Arizona’s not always well-executed but never-ending hustle.

Arizona began the game on a 9-2 run, scoring on its first four possessions. Jones scored on a backcut for a lay-up on the first basket of the game, then drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to force UW head coach Lorenzo Romar to call timeout.

After the first media timeout under 16 minutes, UA had built a 16-6 lead after Fogg hit a trey and drew the foul for a four-point play.

Starting with a Williams And 1 drive, Mayes and Horne hit consecutive 3s to keep its lead for the next four minutes and giving the Wildcats a 25-15 lead with 11:47.

Failing to get any closer to Arizona than five points, Washington kept pace with a strong midrange game, shooting 13-for-25 in the first half. Arizona responded multiple times with its 3-point accuracy, shooting 8-for-10 in the first half and leading at halftime 49-40.

In the second half, the Wildcats came out sloppy, turning the ball over five times in less than four minutes as UW cut the lead to 54-48 with 14:58 to play. They finished with 18 turnovers to Washington’s 11, but UA head coach Sean Miller was pleased with his team’s effort, if anything.

“”I like to say we executed well,”” Miller said. “”It had very little to do with our victory. Our victory was centered on rebounding and just making hard plays.””

Pulling within three with less than 10 minutes to play, the Huskies hurt UA on the inside and made the Wildcats pay for its second half turnovers.

A 3-pointer by UW freshman C.J. Wilcox tied the game at 68 with nine minutes to go, and the Huskies took their first lead on the next play.

Arizona regained the lead thanks to five straight points by Williams, giving UA a 78-76 advantage before a Huskies timeout with 5:16 to go.

After Hill’s go-ahead basket and out of a timeout with 17.5 seconds left, UW’s Matthew Bryan- Amaning — he filled the stat box 24 points, nine rebounds, six blocks, four assists and three steals — shuffled his feet in the paint to give Arizona the ball. But out of timeouts on the inbounds pass, Hill threw the ball off Jones’ foot and the Huskies had a last shot with 2.2 seconds remaining.

Then, Williams made one of the biggest plays of his career, on the defensive end nonetheless.

“”Right now, we might be a top-10 team,”” Williams said. “”That’s a great feeling, from where we came from. It was a great win, but we can’t just sit on this win.””

Note*: Due to technical complications, the final statistics are subject to change following a review of the game film.

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