Huskies Avenge Disaster in Dessert; Slip by Wildcats, 81-75


The Washington Huskies (5-5, 15-7 overall) defeated the Arizona Wildcats (6-4, 12-10 overall), 81-75, on Thursday night at Hec Ed.

The least you should know:

The Huskies didn’t put this one away until the final minute, shooting 10-10 from the free throw line in the final 50 seconds to overcome the plucky Wildcats.

As he’s done so often, Quincy Pondexter carried the team for long stretches tonight, finishing with 30 points and 12 rebounds.

The Huskies forced the Wildcats into 20 turnovers, and contained leading scorers Nic Wise (12 points on 4-17 shooting) and Derrick Williams (3 points in eight minutes, five fouls).

The narrative:

The Huskies had been so dominant on their home floor of prior to Thursday night, going 14-1 this season, and winning the last four home games by an average of 30 points, that Venoy Overton found himself thankful for a close game.

“We needed a game like this,” said Overton after the Huskies’ hard-fought 81-75 victory over the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday evening.

For the second straight game, the Huskies fell behind in the first half, going into the locker room down, 37-31. The Huskies shot 29% in the first 20 minutes, missed nine of 17 free throws, and had only two assists.

Quincy Pondexter’s 15 points at the break were responsible for nearly half of the Huskies’ scoring.

With 17:38 remaining in the game, the Huskies regained the lead, 40-39, on a layup by Tyreese Breshers and never fell behind again. The Huskies held their largest lead, 68-58, with 6:45 remaining.

In the final 1:20 of the game, Arizona managed to pull within two points three separate times, only to see the Huskies put the game away at the free throw line, hitting on their last ten free throws.

Overton, who connected on six free throws in the final minute and scored 12 in the game, started the second half in place of Isaiah Thomas, who struggled early on and finished with only seven points.

Thoughts and Observations:

Isaiah Thomas looked like he was going half speed tonight. For the first time in two seasons, I didn’t get the sense he was playing very hard. Still feeling the effects of the flu?

Great games tonight by Tyreese Breshers (nine points, six rebounds, two blocks in 12 minutes) and Scott Suggs (13 points).

The game was won for the Huskies at the free throw line. They hit their last 10, and shot 21-25 in the second half, to preserve a close win.

However, the game was nearly lost at the line too. The Huskies looked to me like they outplayed the Wildcats for much of the first half, but shot 8-17 from the line, 29% from the field, and went to locker room down six.

Big break for the Huskies that Derrick Williams got into foul trouble so early and never really got going in the game.

Nice job overall by the Husky bigs tonight, who finished with a combined six blocks (four for Matthew Bryan-Amaning, two for Breshers).

Next up: Arizona State, which destroyed the Huskies in Tempe, 68-51, in January. The Huskies have beaten many teams with more talent than the Sun Devils, but looked clueless against the Sun Devils gimmicky zone defense last time out.