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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Parker, Allen step up big in UW victory without Trier

Arizona+guard+Gabe+York+%281%29+and+forwards+Mark+Tollefsen+%2823%29+and+Ryan+Anderson+%2812%29+celebrate+in+McKale+Center+on+Thursday%2C+Jan.+14.+Arizona+defeated+Washington+99-67+behind+Andersons+21+points+and+nine+rebounds.
Sydney Richardson
Arizona guard Gabe York (1) and forwards Mark Tollefsen (23) and Ryan Anderson (12) celebrate in McKale Center on Thursday, Jan. 14. Arizona defeated Washington 99-67 behind Anderson’s 21 points and nine rebounds.

Sean Miller believes the Pac-12 Conference is America’s new “beat each other up league.”

On Thursday, Arizona men’s basketball handed league leader Washington a total beat-down.

After dropping two close games in Los Angeles, on top of a month-long hand injury to Allonzo Trier, Arizona responded Thursday with a dominating 99-67 win over the Huskies, a victory that should pacify any great concerns coming off the Wildcats’ road trip sweep.

Yes, these star-crossed Wildcats lost their leading scorer over the weekend, but Arizona’s backcourt adjusted seamlessly to the loss of Trier.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright embraced a greater role at point guard, dishing out a career-high 11 assists, while Kadeem Allen limited Pac-12 leading scorer Andrew Andrews to a season-low nine points.

The Arizona front court, meanwhile, finally profited from its major size advantage.

Kaleb Tarczewski and Ryan Anderson attacked repeatedly throughout the game, combining for 37 of the team’s 99 total points and racking up 22 rebounds together.

More importantly, Arizona’s defense played perhaps its best second half of the season after struggling in the opening 20 minutes.

The Huskies’ three leading scorers heading into the night—Andrews, Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss—shot a collective 20 percent in the second half.

“Tonight was a big night for us,” Miller said after the game. “It’s nice to be home.”

It took a while for Arizona’s homecoming party to heat up.

Washington hung with Arizona for the entire first half and the Huskies actually took the lead with about two minutes to go before intermission.

But an 8-0 Arizona run heading into halftime spurred the Wildcats the rest of the night.

Arizona broke the game open in the opening minutes of the second half as the defense buckled down while Jackson-Cartwright continued to create opportunities inside for the big men.

Washington’s Murray and Andrews, who had each dropped over 20 points in the Huskies’ past two games, could find few open looks against Arizona’s perimeter defense.

The Wildcats’ big men did their job on the glass, outrebounding Washington 43-26.

“I think our defense revved up to another level,” Jackson-Cartwright said. “We go defense to offense and it shows.”

Arizona’s defense even featured a new sprinkle: zone defense.

Miller, a strong adversary of zone dating back to his days at Xavier University, said that the Wildcats will need to rely on it going forward to compensate for the sudden lack of guard depth.

“I don’t think we have a choice,” Miller said. “We don’t have a deep enough team. So as long as we’re playing with great effort, it could be something that is good for us. I look at that as being part of what we do from this point on.”

The change worked, as Washington never found a shooting touch in the second half, hitting just 30 percent from the field and 2-12 from outside.

The Wildcats would go on to outscore Washington 55-26 in the half.

“Once we left halftime, our defense went to another level,” Miller said. “The better defensive team we are, the more that fuels our offense.”

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