Arizona outlasts Washington

It was quite a New Years' Eve gala while it lasted. Until Arizona's poise - with four fouled-out Husky starters helplessly watching - spoiled the party. In a stirring and ultimately exhausting contest at the Bank of America Arena, the Washington Huskies saw their 32-game home-court winning streak snap at the hands of the soon-again-to-be-ranked Arizona Wildcats, 96-95.

They're lucky they tipped this one off at 11:00 AM. Otherwise the ball dropping later tonight in Times Square may have beat them.

Perhaps it wasn't a case of the better team winning. But Washington played scrambly throughout the last five minutes and overtimes, while Arizona played with more poise - a thought not lost on Husky coach Lorenzo Romar.

"When you lose a game like that, you want to say that you gave it your all," said Romar in a steamy press conference after. "And for about 46 minutes, I thought that we did."

"There were times where I thought we tried to do too much with the ball," Romar continued. "Down the stretch Justin (Dentmon) fouled out, and he's a big part of what we do."

"We can't snivel about it, for that is just how it was, and we still should have done a better job. But I felt like (the fouls) had a lot to do with the (outcome of) the game."

The Huskies seemed to lean much more on their seniors, especially Brandon Roy, who equaled his career high of 35 points set just two nights earlier against ASU. "Today, we got in a position where Brandon was going well. And when a player of Brandon's caliber is going well, the guys will whip it around and try to find him."

For his part, Roy felt like his team got away from stopping the Wildcats, letting them back in the game. "It was a great game and all," Roy exclaimed, "but I think we did things that let them back in. We got content in trying to out-score them instead of getting good stops.

"I made those shots at the end, but I felt I missed easier ones earlier, and some free throws, that could have helped kept the lead."

"We have to be nails on defense late in the game, and we weren't tonight."

Washington lost four players due to fouls, and had 29 infractions in all. And it wasn't lost on Roy. "Man, that was frustrating. Even if we had to go to another overtime you're looking around and saying 'we've got four of our starters on the bench'. And the way it ended, with a loose ball foul - yeah, it was frustrating."

"But I guess it was the only way (the home court streak) should end - not with us losing by 15 or to a bad team. We lost it to a good team. They took it from us. We just made too many defensive mistakes."

Arizona coach Lute Olson trumped the game as not only a victory for his team, but for the PAC-10 as a whole. "Those were great competitors on the court today," the white-haired dean of the conference said. "Brandon Roy and Hassan Adams were just unbelievable. I think that the PAC-10 office should break tradition and name co-Players of the Week.

"We couldn't buy a basket in the first half (Arizona shot just 28 percent in the first 20 minutes), but I was proud of how our guys bounced back. I thought Mustafa Shakur did a great job of penetrating and dishing in the second half."

"Washington made us take shots early that they wanted us to take. We got better movement in the second half."

Romar concurred, adding "we stopped running at their shooters. Their second-half threes were uncontested - and you can't do that. We gave them too many good looks."

Romar wasn't all doom and gloom, however - with the foul trouble and the early second-half trouble that allowed Arizona back in, he still felt his team played well. "We out-rebounded them, and we out-shot them. The 19 turnovers are on us. The first four minutes of the second half are on us."

"Except for that, I thought we played well. So to come up short is really disappointing." Top Stories