4250 W. Ina 572-7200
2720 N. Oracle 624-4300
5602 E. Speedway Blvd. 747-4838
Foul trouble and sloppy play doomed the Wildcats, while the scrappy Huskies hit all of the big shots and fended off a series of Wildcat rallies.
Nate Robinson came alive in the second half, scoring 11 of his 20 points in the final 6:00. He hit a 15-footer to put Washington up 88-83 and all but seal the game. The Cats were playing tight defense, but after making contact with Chris Rodgers, Robinson gained separation, draining the shot with Rodgers reeling.
"That was a big shot," Lute Olson noted.
It looked over with 2:16 to play. The Huskies boosted the lead back to nine, but the Cats made a final push and came close to making the comeback. Mustafa Shakur nailed two free throws and Andre Iguodala spinning lay-in had the Cats within five.
After a Rollins jumper, Hassan Adams slashed down the baseline for a lay-in. On the ensuing possession, Robinson slipped and Rodgers raced into the backcourt, scooped up the ball and raced for an uncontested lay-in, making it 86-83. It was as close as the Wildcats would get.
The Wildcats got great performances from Hassan Adams and Channing Frye, but that wasn't enough as the rest of the team struggled.
Adams scored 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had five steals. He played 39 minutes, getting a brief breather midway in the first half.
"Hassan shows what being a competitor is all about," Olson said. "Hassan played 39 minutes and played is tail off."
Despite foul trouble, Frye had 20 points and eight rebounds, missing only one shot from the field.
Unfortunately the rest of the team failed to perform at the same high level.
Andre Iguodala was a miserable 4-14 from the field and committed seven turnovers. He went the entire first half without a rebound and never looked in synch.
Salim Stoudamire continues to be bothered by a sore wrist that led to back-to-back sub par shooting nights. Stoudamire could not take the three pointer and attempted just one long ball the entire night. He was able to penetrate the lane, but had difficulty finishing. His night was cut short with five fouls and he was forced to sit the final 2:05.
"Of course we got into foul trouble again and we just don't have the depth to be effective if we have to sit people out," Olson explained.
Mustafa Shakur and Frye also missed significant time with foul trouble.
While the Cats failed to find consistent efforts, the Huskies got great play all around. Six of the seven Huskies that logged minutes scored in double figures.
Rollins, a native of Mesa, had a double-double, while little used Curtis Allen scored 11 second half points to spark the Huskies.
Washington dominated the glass, especially on the offensive end and shut the Cats down on the outside. They ripped down 15 offensive rebounds that led to 18 second chance points, eight more than the Cats. They also held Arizona to just 1-6 shooting behind the arc.
"I could come up here and make stuff up, but plain and simple, I'm so proud of these guys," Lorenzo Romar said during the postgame press conference.
In 1939 the Wildcats lost 3-of-4 to ASU, but since then no team has been able to upend them three times in one season.
"Obviously they're a better ball club than we are," Olson said. "I mean we are 0 and 3 against them. They played great and deserved to win. They've proven that they're a better team that we are."
Arizona was able to run in the early going. Brandon Roy scored the first two buckets of the game, but soon after that it was the Wildcat transition game that was prominent. The Cats scored nine straight points, thanks in large part to their ability to get up the court. Hassan Adams was fouled on a fast break attempt and a possession later Andre Iguodala had a lay-in when he released down court after a steal.
Arizona went to the press and the disruptive defense allowed the Wildcats to get out to a 19-11 lead. Adams stole an inbounds pass that led to his easy lay-in and on the next possession a travel call gave the Cats the ball and Frye buried an 18 footer.
The lead did not last long. Washington found a hole in the 1-3-1 zone and killed the Wildcats with the three pointer. The Huskies passed the ball around the perimeter, sneaking a shooter to the corner. When the defender on the baseline chased the ball to one corner, the Huskies would reverse it to the other corner where shooters were wide open.
Simmons finished with 19 points, nailing five three pointers.
Foul trouble plagued the Wildcats as they spent most of the first without Frye or Shakur. Both player logged just nine minutes and the Huskies were able to maintain a slim lead down the stretch, before a 6-0 run in the final minutes tied the game at 40. Arizona hit six straight free throws, before a Robinson jumper at the buzzer gave the Huskies a 42-40 lead at the half.
Things remained close in the opening stages of the half. Arizona tied the game on a couple of occasions, but Washington immediately retook the lead. The Huskies led by a point when Simmons and Curtis Allen connected on back-to-back threes and took a 58-51 lead.
The Wildcats battled back and tied the game at 59, but as had been the case the whole game the Huskies had the answer. The Huskies scored 13 of the next 18 points and a long Robinson jumper gave the Huskies a 73-64 lead.
The Huskies maintained a large lead and when Bobby Jones hit a three to make it 81-72 with just 2:49 to play, things looked bleak.
Arizona battled back and got within three, but just couldn't make the late stops when they needed to.