Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. Washington

Arizona won a close one on Saturday afternoon 71-62. Read on to find out how Arizona did it, including key moments, the player of the game, and more.

Arizona fought hard against Washington and came away 2-0 in conference play. The Wildcats won 71-62 in a game that was close to the end. Here's an analysis of what happened:

Arizona Player of the Game:

Aaron Gordon – The freshman was once considered a heavy lean towards Washington, but eventually suited up for Arizona. The Wildcat finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the contest with ten of those rebounds coming in the second half. He also added a block and a steal in what was a complete performance for the small forward, who had multiple big plays down the stretch to keep his team in it.

Key Moments:

  • With just over seven minutes remaining in the first half, Arizona led by one at 22-21. Tough defense forced Washington to turn the ball over with a shot clock violation and Nick Johnson answered at the other end with a three ball. Two turnovers later for Washington and Johnson broke free down the court for a 360-dunk to give Arizona a 27-21 lead.

  • An 8-0 run late in the first half kept the game interesting. Trailing 29-23 Washington scored four consecutive baskets to take the lead 31-29 before Sean Miller called a timeout. The half ended with Washington taking a two-point advantage into the locker room.

  • With ten minutes to go in the game, Shawn Kemp, Jr. was whistled for his fifth and disqualifying foul. Arizona trailed by one, but immediately went down the court, where T.J. McConnell found Aaron Gordon for an easy two and the lead. Washington answered with two free throws, but the Wildcats sparked a 4-0 run on a Gordon tip-dunk and a Johnson break away dunk for the three-point lead.

  • Arizona wasn't done there. Washington cut the lead to two, but a fast break dunk by Gabe York and a Nick Johnson layup put the Wildcats up six. Washington used four free throws to cut the lead down to two, setting up a wild finale.

  • Arizona had the lead at five with just over a minute remaining. Two Johnson free throws put the Wildcats ahead by seven and Washington wasn't able to recover as Arizona held on to win by nine.

    Stats of the Night:

    26-17: In the first half, Arizona was out-rebounded by Washington 17-12. In the second half, the Wildcats came out fired up and immediately had a big impact on the glass. The home team won the battle of the boards in the second half 26-17.

    30: After shooting 55-percent in the first half, Washington struggled with Arizona's defense in the second half. The Wildcats buckled down on and held the Huskies to just ten field goals on 33 shots, which included a goose egg of seven three-pointers in the half.

    General Thoughts: Washington is a better team than most give it credit for being. It was a tough game for Arizona because Washington had the ability to score in bunches. The first half was a perfect example of how the Huskies can play when they are rolling. Lorenzo Romar has his team trending up right now and it was a tough battle for Arizona.

    Even with the win, Arizona played from behind for a majority of the game. The team is playing with fire in those situations and it is just a matter of time before a slow start or a poor defensive half is going to bite it.

    Playing on the road against UCLA is going to be a tremendous challenge for the Wildcats on Thursday. If Arizona has another first half like it did against UW, then it will be Arizona's first loss of the season.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "Nick is a veteran and a very talented player," Miller said. "We've seen him pit it all together here this year. He's a smart guy and does a lot of different things. Aaron had ten rebounds in the second half after only having one in the first. We challenged him at halftime to get ten rebounds and he did. That was a great effort by him."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "That's what good teams do," Johnson said. "We battled through adversity. They are a good team, their record may not show it, but they are good. There's a lot of familiarity within the conference and they have guys that can score. That makes the game more difficult. We knew that going into the game.

    "We made our run and made shots when it counted. Offensive rebounding was big for us, hitting shots and running in transition. That's the attitude of our team, we won't give up."

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