"Washington is a really good basketball team," Olson said. "They are coached really well. They laid it all on the floor, Washington did, just like our team did. It was exciting basketball. This is what college basketball is all about."
Washington sharpshooter Tre Simmons drained a three on the first possession of the game, and Nate Robinson converted a free throw, but the UA finally got on the board when Mustafa Shakur broke the Washington press and converted a free throw after a layup for the traditional three-point play.
"I think it was confidence for Mustafa [Shakur]," said Olson. "He works so hard all the time. It's not looking for shots, it's having the shot be there and hitting it. I thought he played great."
Shakur had a great game scoring 19 points, six assists, three rebounds, and two steals. He played great basketball in all aspects.
Salim Stoudamire, the hottest player in the conference, buried a three that gave the UA a 12-7 lead. Washington answered with five straight, but Stoudamire ended the small run with a jumper near the foul line.
"Salim is just playing lights out and providing leadership on both ends of the floor," Olson added.
From there, Washington built another five-point lead at 23-18, converting the fourth of seven three-point attempts against the UA's 1-3-1 zone. The teams traded baskets until UW drained another three. Shakur missed a layup opportunity, and Washington answered in transition with a three-point play from Brandon Roy as the advantage crept to 34-26.
Despite the early troubles with the zone, Olson supported his decision to keep it going, and it proved to be correct. "The zone was very effective for what we wanted," explained Olson. "Second half we played nothign but sonze. It forced them to take 20, 30 seconds to find a shot. We accomplished what we wanted."
Roy ended the game as Washington's leader with 15 points, seven assists, and nine rebounds.
Arizona stayed in it with free throw shooting. The UA converted 15-of-16 looks in the first half, and got that production from its inside players. After a pair of Kirk Walters free throws, Hassan Adams got a steal and banked a jumper from 15 to cut the lead to four again.
"The key was we were 38-40 from the free throw line," said Olson.
Washington bounced right back, and led 40-30 when Tre Simmons, a focal point of Arizona's defense, rattled his first three of the night in secondary transition. UW, the league's best rebounding team, pounded the UA on the glass for most of the first half, and got seven second looks to Arizona's one offensive board prior to intermission.
"Washington had way too many offensive rebounds," Olson said.
Stoudamire scored his 11th point, and Shakur converted after a drive to his left to get Arizona back into the game, down 42-36. After a 20-second timeout, Washington answered with a bucket on a third shot opportunity, Shakur turned the ball over in the backcourt, and Brandon Roy buried a jumper that pushed the margin to 10 again with 1:22 to go in the first half.
Back-to-back Wildcat buckets cut the lead to 47-40 at the half.
"We were all upset after the first half," said Shakur. "I just tried to tell my teammates that we weren't going to lose. We were down, but we have good shooters. We stayed focused and got the job done. Our defense made a statement, but there is still more of a statement for us to make."
Arizona was hot from the break. Adams converted a three-point play, and Stoudamire's five straight sandwiched a Mike Jensen three. As a result, the UA trimmed the Husky lead to 50-48. Shakur's three gave him 12 points for the night, and gave Arizona its first lead since 18-17.
"I thought it was a great game, second half we outscored them 51-35," explained Olson.
The Wildcats had a four-point lead after an Ivan Radenovic free throws and a Shakur driving layup, but the Huskies rolled off seven straight to recapture a 58-55 advantage.
Then Arizona came back with a five-point run of its own, capped by a Jawann McClellan block and three-pointer on the offensive end. Down four, Washington hit a bit of a cold spell, and came up empty on its jumpers, but a fastbreak three-point opportunity from Bobby Jones with nine minutes to go snapped the mini-drought.
Then Channing Frye got hot.
"This was probably the loudest and most joyful game I've ever had other than me playing crappy the first half (laughs)," said Frye.
Frye's first field goal, a dunk off a Stoudamire assist, put the UA up 67-64. Roy rattled a three that cut the Wildcat lead to one, and Frye answered right back with an offensive rebound, but another second-chance opportunity led to a Husky follow that cut the advantage to one at the under-eight timeout.
To compound matters, Stoudamire picked up his fourth personal foul with seven minutes left. A Simmons three on the ensuing possession gave the Huskies a 73-71 lead. Arizona continued its torrid shooting from the foul line. Two Frye free throws tied the game, and Frye hit a 15-footer with 5:45 to go. Frye found his niche and drained another bucket from the same position on the ensuing possession. Shakur's two free throws, Arizona's 30th point in 31 attempts, gave the UA its largest lead of the night at six, but Jones hit a three to cut the margin in half with four minutes left. Shakur hit two more free throws to put Arizona up five. The Huskies hit a pair of free throws by virtue of yet another offensive rebound, and got to within three again.
Frye ended the game with 18 points.
Two more free throws, this time from Stoudamire, upped the lead to five with three minutes left. Washington's rebounding tenacity kept it close. UW had three looks, and finally got to the line with 1:48 left. Jones converted both free throws, and the lead was three again.
Stoudamire had yet another career game with 25 point, five rebounds, two steals, along with his 9-9 shooting from the stripe.
"You just step up to the line and take your shot," Stoudamire said. "The free-throw shooting was big. It's only 15 feet away. A lot of people rush their shot. I take all ten seconds."
Frye got great position, and a great entry pass from Adams for the easy layup, and Nate Robinson answered quickly on the other end. Stoudamire drove to his left, forced the foul on Robinson and hit the leaner and the free throw with 44.1 seconds to go. It gave the UA an 88-82 lead. That proved to be the nail, and Arizona went on to the 91-82 win.
"I knew I was going to go to the basket (on that drive) because I didn't want to settle for a jump shot," said Stoudamire. "I wanted to get to the line, and the shot was there for me, and luckily it fell."
Arizona improved to 17-3 overall, 7-1 in Pac-10 play. Washington slipped to 16-3, 6-2 in league play. The UA went 38-40 from the foul line.