Arizona was able to defeat Washington on Thursday night. Read on for news and numerous notes on how the Wildcats got it done.
Thursday night's game in Seattle was far from pretty. Washington
battled hard in a physical affair that didn't feature the most efficient brands of offense from either side. The Huskies maintained a lead for much of the game, but foul trouble and poor outside shooting ultimately caught up with them as they fell to the Wildcats 57-53.
As it has numerous times this season, UA stepped it up a notch down the stretch and took control of the game. UW was able to hang close and the teams even exchanged leads down the stretch, but Arizona executed better in the final minutes and pulled off a much-needed road victory. Several Wildcats contributed in the winning effort, led by one of their more consistent players this season.
Nick Johnson's second half is really what propelled UA to victory on Thursday night. 13 of his 15 points came in the final 20 minutes of play and he played strong defense during that stretch. On top of his scoring efforts, Johnson added six rebounds, four steals, three assists and three blocks; putting together another strong all-around effort.
Johnson did a good job in his matchup with C.J. Wilcox. Washington's leading scorer was in foul trouble for most of the night and when he was on the floor, Johnson stayed glued to him. Wilcox finished with 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting and was virtually a non-factor in other areas.
It was another strong outing by freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski. The big man finished with 10 points and eight rebounds before fouling out in the final minutes. Tarczewski only made two field goals, but he was efficient from the free throw line, where he shot 6-for-7. Matched up against senior center Aziz N'Diaye, the young freshman held his own and used his physical style of play to his advantage, which helped him earn his seven attempts from the charity stripe.
Solomon Hill finished the game with 10 points and hit a crucial shot down the stretch to extend Arizona's lead to three points. Hill filled out his stat sheet with three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block, pitching in wherever he could in the winning effort. The victory allowed him (as well as fellow senior Kevin Parrom) to pick up his first victory in Seattle since arriving at UA in 2009.
While the Wildcats shoot poorly from the outside (16.7 percent from three point range), the Huskies were even more inefficient, knocking down just one out of 12 attempts from beyond the arc. Arizona's defense clamped down along the perimeter and prevented one of the Pac-12's best outside shooting teams from finding any kind of rhythm.
UA started out playing extremely sloppy on the offensive end of the floor, turning the ball over 11 times in the first 12 minutes of the ballgame. Luckily for the Wildcats, Washington's inefficient offensive play arrived right on time and allowed them to creep back into the game after trailing by 11 early. Both teams finished with 17 turnovers on the night, but the Wildcats only coughed up possession six times in the final 28 minutes of the contest.
Free throw shooting left its mark on this contest. Arizona connected on 14 out of 19 attempts from the charity stripe, while UW knocked down just 10 out of 17 and missed on several key foul shots down the stretch. Arizona held a four point advantage at the free throw line, which also happened to be the difference in the final score.