NCAA Hoops: Washington @ Arizona
It was arguably one of the biggest games of the year as the Washington Huskies were scheduled to come into Arizona to take on the always challenging Wildcats. The game was a primetime game, slated for ESPN and was the featured game on ESPN Gameday.
These two teams have developed quite a rivalry over the last 2 seasons, especially after last season’s 2 games.
If you’ll remember, in the regular season, Arizona won narrowly against the Dawgs in Arizona as Derrick Williams goaltended the last shot of the game, but got away with it and his ‘Cats took home the 2 point win.
The two met again in the title game of the Pac-1o tournament. It was the biggest highlight of Isaiah Thomas’ career at Washington, as he juked a defender, stepped back and stuck a dagger in the Wildcats at the buzzer in overtime to send the Huskies into March Madness with an automatic bid.
It continued again tonight.
The Huskies got off to a strong start, which is not typical this season. Aziz N’Diaye dominated the beginning of the game, establishing himself down low. He made some very good off-balance shots that really showed his versatility. All his points came in the paint tonight, all 12 of them. He added 8 rebounds to his dominant performance.
Tony Wroten played as he has all season long. Dominant, yet still very young and raw. He had 5 turnovers, but hit 5-7 free throws which is a big improvement over his 55% this season.
He had an open lane to the hoop and couldn’t decide whether he wanted to throw it down or lay it up and ended up bricking the free shot.
That didn’t derail him though, as he stepped up on a loose ball and nailed a LONG 3 pointer. He made many brilliant passes again and showed some leadership on the floor. He also was the game decider as he blocked Arizona’s last second shot in the closing seconds of the game.
He ended with 17 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds.
C.J. Wilcox is back and looks just as good as ever as he drained several clutch shots in crucial points in the game. He cut the basket very well and sliced up the Arizona defense when he wasn’t hitting his jump shots.
He had 15 points.
Terrence Ross stepped up tonight as well, putting up 16 points of his own. He also hit some clutch shots when needed, including a 3 pointer that silenced the Arizona crowd after the Wildcats had gone on a big scoring run on the Huskies.
The Huskies allowed Solomon Hill of Arizona to put up 28 points and Jesse Perry to put up 13, but nobody else on their team scored in double digits.
Free throws were a big sore spot again as Wroten was 5-7 from the line and the rest of the team was a combined 2-9. The Huskies have been plagued with terrible free throw shooting this season.
In fact, during the broadcast, ESPN showed that they were the 3rd lowest free throw shooting team in all of the 6 major DI conferences. Atrocious.
The win vaulted the Huskies into first place in the Pac-12 with a 14-7 overall record and a 7-2 conference record and gave them some momentum going into next week’s games at home versus the LA schools: USC and UCLA.