The Washington basketball team played in Tucson, Arizona on Thursday night January 7 taking on the Arizona Wildcats. They hadn’t won in Tucson since January 28, 2012.
The Huskies have certainly played easier games on the road. Between a game-time decision of whether or not Noah Dickerson was going to be able to play, to seemingly everyone on the team falling ill with a flu, the Dawgs were in for a tough one against an Arizona team desperate to end their three-game losing streak.
Washington had trouble getting going on the offense side in the first half. The Huskies, thanks to the best defense in the Pac-12, were able to stay in the game. In fact, they led the whole first half despite the Arizona Wildcats tying it up several times. The largest lead the Huskies had in the first half was four points.
As they have many times prior in the season, the Huskies started out hot after the break. The Wildcats took their only lead of the game to start the half, 30-29. The Huskies didn’t let it bother them, however, going on a 7-0 run to recapture the lead, 36-30.
Washington allowed the Wildcats to stay within striking distance for most of the second half, only leading 47-43 at the ten-minute mark. The Huskies then scored five unanswered points to take a 52-43 lead with 8:32 remaining in the game. They extended the lead to twelve at the six-minute mark thanks to good shot selection and shutting Arizona down on the defensive end.
The Wildcats had two players in foul trouble in center Chase Jeter and forward Ira Lee. Matisse Thybulle was in foul trouble as well. Jeter fouled out at the two-minute mark with the Huskies leading 65-55. At that point the game was likely over. The Wildcats made a three with only a few seconds left, giving the Huskies victory a final score of 67-60.
Senior guards David Crisp and Matisse Thybulle led the Huskies in scoring. Crisp had 17 points while Thybulle had 15. Crisp made three of eight beyond the three point line while Thybulle had three out of four behind the arc. Jaylen Nowell continues to play well, contributing 12 points on six of ten from the floor. He added six rebounds and four assists.
Noah Dickerson, who was questionable after being injured twice against UCLA last Saturday, contributed 10 points along with three rebounds in 26 minutes of play. Nahziah Carter scored 10 points as well, adding four rebounds in 29 minutes off of the bench.
The Arizona Wildcats were led in scoring by senior guard Justin Coleman with 16. He shot four of eight from the floor but only one out of four behind the arc. He added seven out of ten from the free throw line. He was trying to make up for the loss of freshmen guard Brandon Williams who missed his second straight game after spraining his left knee against UCLA.
Junior center Chase Jeter added 12 points in the game before fouling out. He had only three rebounds against the Huskies tough defense, despite averaging seven a game heading into Thursday.
Sophomore guard Brandon Randolph, the Arizona Wildcats leading scorer on the season, had only six points. He shot horribly from the field, going two of thirteen and missing all six attempts from behind the arc. The Wildcats as a whole shot 37.7% and four for 18 from deep. The Huskies shot 51% from the field including seven of 20 behind the arc.
The Washington basketball team are now 10-0 in the Pac-12, 19-4 overall. They have won 12 straight games. Not only did they add to their win total, they gained ground in the loss column with losses from three of the four teams tied for second place. Only Utah won, beating USC on the road. USC is one of the other four teams in second place.
For the Huskies not to win the Pac-12 title, they would have to suffer a total collapse the rest of the way. With a four game cushion, and only three away games left, Washington can start to be penciled in as the top seed come Pac-12 tournament time.