"I think when Allen hit the three, that was on me," Washington senior guard Andrew Andrews said post-game. "I left my man trying to go down and help rebound. I thought he was going to go up with the shot. After that we just had to take care of the glass with both of their bigs."
"That is a tough one to lose," added Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar. "The way the people came out, the way the crowd was behind us and backed us. Our guys have been waiting for this for a long, long time. Andrew Andrews, this is his first time he has played in a situation like this at home. And I feel like we let him down a little bit. It is tough."
Ryan Anderson led Arizona (19-5. 7-4) with 22 points and 15 rebounds, eight of them on the offensive glass. His offensive rebound and subsequent foul by Washington's Marquese Chriss - his fifth - with 17 seconds left helped seal the win for the Wildcats.
"It’s unacceptable for one player to match our team offensive rebounds," Chriss said of Anderson. "I just think we have to work harder on boxing out and kind of just keeping big players like that off the boards wherever we’re at; it doesn’t matter if it’s offense or defense. That’s just unacceptable.”
"(Andrerson) had his way with us," Romar added. "When we were in Tucson he was very forceful then too. They had eight offensive rebounds with eleven minutes to go in the game. They had eight offensive rebounds at halftime if I remember correctly. We told our team during that timeout that we were doing a great job boxing out and keeping him off the board up until that point. You do the math and you see what damage Ryan Anderson did down the stretch in the last eleven minutes of the game.
"There is the difference."
Washington (15-8, 7-4) had five players in double-figures, led by the 20 of Andrews. Chriss chipped in with 18, Matisse Thybulle and Dejounte Murray had 11 apiece, and Malik Dime had 10. Thybulle also contributed six steals and three blocks.
Anderson, Kaleb Tarczewski and Dusan Ristic were able to roam free for Arizona, grab rebounds, and get key second-chance opportunities. UA out-scored Washington 21-6 in second-chance points, and they did it via 17 offensive rebounds. Overall, the Huskies were out-rebounded 43-29.
"26 rebounds in total (from Anderson and Tarczewski), that’s just way too much," Andrews said. "Ryan Anderson had eight offensive rbounds. Coach Romar told is second chance points was like 31-14. That’s the game right there. We keep them off the glass then we put ourselves in good shape. I don’t know it’s just tough. Played well enough to get the win, and just a couple bad plays at the end lead to a loss.”
Playing a major role in the 'Cats ability to take over in the paint was the fact that one of Washington's key bigs, freshman Noah Dickerson, fouled out in only seven minutes of play. By the 16:48 mark of the first half, Dickson had already picked up two fouls; 55 seconds into the second half he had four fouls.
In his place, Dime had to play 33 minutes, the most minutes he's played this season.
"Noah (Dickerson) not only is physical, but he scored 17 points in the first game (against UA)," said Romar. "We were without his physicality. Malik Dime played more minutes than he has all year, 33 minutes, and he’s not used to playing that way. By the time, down the stretch, he was really tired. No fault to him, just hadn’t been playing that many minutes. If we would have had Noah’s services we could have rotated a little more and kept fresh guys in. I think that might have had something to with Ryan Anderson doing what he did also. Just us being tired at the end.”
“Their bigs are strong and they’re talented," added Chriss. "They can see the floor a lot and they know how to get open in the post and kind of get the ball and work their way into the key. Without Noah (Dickerson) in the game I think Malik (Dime) stepped up big time. He helped with the big (Kaleb Tarczewksi). He was kind of our back line getting blocks like he always does. I just think that we learned that there are people who are stronger than us and you have to be physical or else they’re going to hit you first. It’s kind of just get hit or hit them first kind of thing.”
It was Allen's dagger three that really put the young pups to sleep, but senior guard Gabe York's four threes - including back-to-back treys to help Arizona finish the first half on an 8-0 run to take a six-point lead - were just as important.
While it was a relatively close game for the most part, Washington did jump out to a nine-point lead out of the gate. Up 20-11 with 12:51 remaining after two Dime free throws, the Huskies had forced six UA turnovers by that point.
"We knew," Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller said when asked about the Huskies' ability to turn teams over. "They are a very athletic team. Lorenzo loves to play this style. A lot of his teams have had this type of makeup. You can tell that his team likes each other. They have a great chemistry and a great way of playing. Obviously, they are having an outstanding season so to be able to beat them on their home court is something we take pride in only because of how good they are."
The loss puts the Huskies at no worse than third currently in the Pac-12 standings, pending results from two of the teams above them - Oregon and USC. Washington has a vital road trip in front of them this coming week, at Utah Wednesday night and then a Saturday showdown at Colorado in the morning.
“When you’re climbing back up the mountain, as we are, there comes that point where you’re over the hump and now you have to sustain it," said Romar. "I don’t feel like we’ve got there yet. I think we’re climbing hard though. I think we’re really climbing hard and gaining momentum and I feel like the top is within sight. We didn’t quite get over the hump again tonight. This is a great group and we’re going to come back and fight.
"I thought our guys competed. I thought our guys guarded, I thought our guys played together on defense, and worked hard. But here we are without the victory. Give Arizona a lot of credit for going on the road in a hostile environment and finding a way to get it done."