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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Washed out

SEATTLE — No rocks went uncovered in preparation for Arizona basketball’s showdown with Washington.

But unfortunately, everything the Wildcats game-planned for tripped up Arizona, which found itself at the mercy of the Huskies, flexing their muscle in grasping the Pacific 10 Conference’s No. 1 spot.

“”We have to have a perspective,”” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. “”If you play Washington at home, you have to play a great, great game. And tonight we didn’t.””

The Wildcats fell to 15-4 and 4-2 in the Pacific 10 Conference in their 85-68 defeat to Washington (14-4, 6-1 Pac-10) in Seattle, Wash. Sophomore Derrick Williams led Arizona with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to match the impact of Washington guard Isaiah Thomas, who scored 22 points and 10 assists.

“”Isaiah Thomas, it’s not even close. There’s not one player in the country that’s more disrespected,”” Miller said. “”If he’s not one of the top four or five point guards in the country, then I tell you, I want to invite these guys who vote to come and watch film.””

Both teams offensively rebounded the ball well early on, but had trouble converting those into scores. But Thomas got going, the crowd got loud and the Wildcats found themselves the victims of a 7-0 UW run after earning an early 8-6 lead four minutes in.

“”It was a night they felt it,”” sophomore point guard Momo Jones said. “”They hit on all angles.””

UA forward Kevin Parrom hit a 3-point bomb on the left wing to put out the flames less than a minute later, then UA forward Solomon Hill tied the score up with a bank shot in the lane at the 10:11 mark.

That only led to another 7-0 Husky spurt, jumping ahead 20-13 with less than nine minutes in the first half.

Arizona scored five in a row before the Huskies opened up a 10-point lead on two Thomas free throws, putting the score at 28-18 with five minutes before the intermission. Keeping their 10-point cushion for a bit, the Huskies allowed Arizona to go on a 7-0 spurt — four points by Hill and three by Parrom — to bring Arizona within three with just more than a minute to play in the half.

But Thomas nailed a timely 3-point shot with 1:11 left and the Huskies went to the locker room with a 36-31 lead.

Williams struggled to score against UW’s length in the first half, shooting 2-for-7 from the field. But he erupted in the second period, scoring 16 of his 22 points despite playing the final 10 minutes with four fouls.

“”They pack it in,”” Jones said of Washington’s defense, which was mostly man with a mix of a 2-3 zone. “”They sort of took (Williams) away.””

Arizona tied the game at 38 after Williams hit a 3-pointer from the wing and then threw down a breakaway dunk off a UW turnover. Arizona took its first lead of the the half, a 44-43 advantage with 16:05 to play, as Jones converted a layup on a UW turnover.

It would be short-lived. Thomas helped the Huskies regain control by drawing another crucial bucket, an And 1 with about 13 minutes to play.

His timing was of the utmost precision.

After the Wildcats’ first lead at the half, UW ran off a 16-6 spurt, capitalized when Thomas dove seemingly into the corner exit to save a ball, hustling back up to whip a pass to forward Darnell Gant for a 3-pointer for a 59-50 Husky lead.

Washington’s emotional leader came as a contrast to Arizona’s two point guards. Jones had a 0-to-3 assist to turnover ratio in the first half and freshman backup Jordin Mayes, perhaps showing his youth, struggled from the foul stripe.

“”They set a ton of ball screens,”” said Jones, who had the task of hounding Thomas. “”Early in the clock, late in the clock, the middle of the clock … it’s just tough.””

Washington forward Justin Holiday hit a 3-pointer with 4:53 to play, giving UW a 73-61 lead. It was seemingly the back breaker for Arizona, who faces Washington State and deadly scorer Klay Thompson Saturday.

“”Just believing in each other, don’t quit on one another,”” Williams said of why Arizona lost. “”We didn’t believe would could win in the end.””

 

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