He only had five points at halftime and the Wildcats--his team--played down to Washington's level because Gardner couldn't get his shot.
However, Gardner hit two huge three-pointers late in the second half to help Arizona overcome yet another pesky team and win its sixth game decided by five or fewer points.
"That's just Jason's mentality," Arizona assistant coach Rodney Tention said. "He's kind of like Jason Terry when he was here, always wanting to take the big shots. We lived and died with JT back then and it's a very similar situation with Jason this year."
In each of the six games Arizona has won with differences less than five points, it has been Gardner who was the key to either the comeback or to putting the game on ice. Say what you will about what he can't do, but when it comes down to crunch time, Jason Gardner is THE man.
"I've just always been the leader of the teams I've played on," Gardner said. "I love taking the big shots because I can handle the pressure and a lot of people can't deal with that."
By scoring 16 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, Gardner added another chapter to his ever-growing mystique as one of the all-time clutch performers in Arizona Wildcat history.
And for that, Jason Gardner not only wins tonight's Player of the Game honor, but he's well on his way towards a possible Player of the Year award as well.
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