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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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Both Arizona and Washington State had a monster on their basketball team, but after conference player of the year candidates Derrick Williams and Klay Thompson slugged it out, it all came down to basketball’s most boring practice exercise — free throws.

The Wildcats hit 24-for-26, and the Cougars went 11-for-15 from the foul line despite having more field goals in the game.

“”Sometimes in practice when you break from live action to free throws, it becomes boring,”” Miller said. “”It’s like, ‘Oh, free throws again.’

“”It’s moments like today where I think everyone realizes how important it is.””

Weathering Thompson’s 30 point onslaught, the Wildcats (22-4, 11-2 Pacific 10 Conference) negated his outing with forward Derrick Williams’ 26 points, all while gaining contributions from a number of his teammates in a 79-70 victory in McKale Center last night.

Six Wildcats scored five or more points. Point guard Momo Jones poured in 10 and forward Solomon Hill added 10 in the second half to finish with 12 points, including a 3-pointer with three minutes to go that put the pressure on the Cougars (17-9, 7-7 Pac-10) and gave Arizona a double-digit lead.

The Wildcats led 41-33 by intermission despite Williams failing to hit a field goal until almost 13 minutes into the game.

Out of the halftime break, Hill, who had two first-half points, scored the first seven points for Arizona to ignite a 9-0 run.

“”(I) just assert myself, take open shots,”” Hill said. “”Just make them play me, keep them honest. It was just playing, waiting for it to come for me, not forcing the issue.””

But after UA built a 52-35 lead, Thompson caught fire, scoring 11 points in less than four minutes to break the deficit to single digits at 56-48 with 12:38 remaining. He hit on five 3-pointers and shot 11-for-24 overall, though it wasn’t due to a lack of Arizona’s effort.

“”I tried my best to make him shoot tough 2s,”” said guard Kyle Fogg, who led UA with seven assists. “”It doesn’t even matter if he’s got (a hand in face).

“”We just tried to make sure nobody else gets points up on the board.””

And for the most part, Arizona didn’t allow other WSU players to get hot, setting up Saturday’s highly anticipated game against the Washington Huskies.

All thanks to free throws.

Said Miller: “”We don’t make our free throws, you can make the argument that game goes down to the final possession or final minutes. It was such a difference.””

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