Arizona's offense did not look good in the first half, but it changed for the better in the second half, as a balanced effort helped the Wildcats defeat Washington 70-52 Wednesday night at McKale.
Scott Suggs put Washington on the board first, but Solomon Hill responded with a three-pointer. Abdul Gaddy and Kaleb Tarczewski then exchanged baskets before a C.J. Wilcox three-pointer put UW up 7-5 at the first media timeout.
Wilcox scored out of the timeout and after a free-throw by Hill, Shawn Kemp Jr. scored off a rebound to put the Huskies up 11-6 with 12:16 left. Brandon Ashley then proceeded to score to cut the Huskies’ lead to three before Kemp Jr. scored on an alley-oop dunk. Mark Lyons scored his first points of the game with two free-throws at the 8:06 mark to make it 13-10 in favor of the Huskies.
Kemp Jr. made one of two free-throws shortly after and Lyons was able to hit a three the next time down court to cut the Washington lead to one. Gaddy responded with a basket of his own, but Lyons made two free-throws and a three-pointer to force Washington to take a timeout down 18-16 with 6:34 left.
Aziz N’Diaye scored his first points of the game out of the timeout, but Hill came right with a strong drive to the basket. Lyons then scored off a Husky turnover to put Arizona up four and Desmond Simmons scored for UW the next time down court. Gaddy hit a free-throw with just under four minutes to go, but a three-point play by Hill gave Arizona a 25-21 lead with 3:30 left.
Wilcox proceeded to make a basket before Hill made a three-pointer to put Arizona up five. Simmons answered with a jumper and Tarczewski hit one of his own soon after to keep the lead at five. N’Diaye picked up a technical and Hill made both free-throws before Tarczewski got to the line and extended the lead to 33-25 going into the half.
Tarczewski started the half with a hook shot in the paint, but Suggs answered. However, Hill and Lyons scored consecutive baskets to put Arizona up 39-27 with 18:14 left in the second half. Tarczewski then went one of two from the line before Lyons found Nick Johnson in transition for a dunk to extend the lead to 42-29.
Lyons once again found Johnson in transition to force a Washington timeout as the Wildcats led 44-29 with 15:51 left in the second half. Johnson nailed a three out of the timeout and Arizona forced another turnover that led to a Johnson basket as the Wildcats’ lead increased to 20 with 13:36 lead. Simmons tried to stop the run with a free-throw, but Gabe York hit a three the next time down court to put Arizona up 52-30.
Wilcox scored on a tough jumper and Andrew Andrews hit one of two free-throws to bring Arizona’s lead down to 19. Johnson made one of two free-throws the next time down court, but Simmons was able to come up with a bucket with about ten minutes left in the half. Tarczewski was able to hit a layup at the other end, but Kemp Jr. scored on an offensive rebound.
Johnson found Grant Jerrett for a basket seconds later, but Gaddy scored with a little bit under seven minutes left to cut the Arizona lead to 57-40.
Wilcox was fouled on a three and made all of his attempts, but a Johnson layup kept the UA lead at 59-43 with five minutes left.
After two free-throws by Gaddy, Johnson was able to hit two of his own to make it 61-45 with a little under four minutes left.
About a minute later, Hill picked up a three-point play to extend the lead to 19 before a free-throw from Wilcox. Ashley responded by making two free-throws and the 20-point lead with about two minutes left was more than enough for Arizona.