The win was obviously huge for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that it gave Arizona a road sweep. With the Pac-10 a wide open conference, getting a win over one of the favorites on their home floor is huge.
You have to assume that in most cases the home teams will hold serve, especially the good ones, but already the Huskies and UCLA have a home loss, meaning they will have to pick up a two wins on the road to make up for the loss.
The win over UW does not ensure anything, but it does put the Cats in a good position. Granted, there are still 16 games left in the conference, but the Cats and Cal are the only teams to emerge from the first weekend with two wins. Both the Cats and the Bears emerged with road sweeps.
The Cats get UCLA at home on Thursday and a win would give them a two game lead on a club that looked a week ago to be one of the favorites for the Pac-10 crown.
Mustafa Shakur played one of his best games of his career on Saturday, but it wasn't without some down points.
Shakur scored 23 points and dished out nine assists and was instrumental in getting the Wildcats back into the game. However, he also disappeared at two key times. The first came at the end of regulation when he did a fantastic job getting into the lane, but was indecisive and wound up kicking the ball out to Hassan Adams far too late for a shot to get off.
At the end of the second overtime Shakur looked as if he did not want the ball in the final seconds. Freshman J.P. Prince wound up with it and got a pretty good look at it, but missed. Fortunately the miss was grabbed by Kirk Walters who was fouled and wound up sinking the game winning foul shot.
Of course, Shakur also had the two most humorous plays of the game. First was a breakaway lay-in attempt that he just lost the handle on. The second was when he tried to toss a lob pass to Adams, but the attempt was too on target and landed in the basket.
The game was wrought with crucial mental errors. One of the most critical came on the Huskies' final possession of regulation. Chris Rodgers was matched up defensively on Brandon Roy. The whole arena knew that Roy had to take a three pointer.
Rodgers tripped on the play, but that was not the problem. The problem was that Rodgers was inside the three-point arc. He was defending Roy as if he did not want the talented swing man to drive the lane. That small amount of separation was all Roy needed to get a nice look at the basket.
Rodgers needed to extend the defense. Rodgers could have surrendered a two-point shot win less consequences. Obviously a stop would have been best, but giving up two would not have been nearly as costly as the game-tying three pointer.
An even worse error came at the end of the game. Ryan Appleby had the ball with a chance to win. Apparently no one told Appleby that the quickest route between two points is a straight line because he took a circuitous route up court and ended up taking a terrible 40-footer at the buzzer that came up short.
Had Appleby raced straight up court he could have possibly gotten a better, or at least a closer shot.