TUCSON – Two 11-0 runs, one in each half, was all it took for the Arizona Wildcats to cruise to a very convincing 84-54 win over the Washington Huskies Saturday. The 30-point win was the worst loss for the Huskies since losing to Arizona State 87-59 on January 9, 2003.
14,118 in attendance at the McKale Center saw Marcus Williams and Jawann McClellan score 14 points of a first-half 20-4 run, and the Wildcats (15-7, 6-5) took a 45-26 intermission advantage and added a 20-6 run during the first 7:21 of the second stanza. Jordan Hill led five ‘Cats in double-figures with 16 points and five blocks, McClellan and Chase Budinger added 15 each and Ivan Radenovic added 11.
“This was a team win,” Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson said. “For example, Marcus (Williams) only took two shots in the second half, but he had six assists and no turnovers. That is a team game. The overall spirit of the team was high coming into this game.
It showed. By the time Washington’s Ryan Appleby could hit a three-point shot with 12:39 left in the game – his only points of the game - the ‘Cats already had their biggest lead – 33 points.
The Huskies (15-8, 4-7) were led by Artem Wallace’s 12 points. Jon Brockman added 10. They were the only two to score in double-figures. Arizona also out-rebounded UW 42-25.
“Right from the beginning, they punched us in the face and we didn’t punch back,” sophomore captain Jon Brockman said afterward. “And they kept punching.” Brockman, who was averaging a league-leading 9.1 rebounds per game, was held to two boards, simply because he became saddled with his fourth foul with 16:11 left and only played 17 minutes the entire game.
Even though the two teams came into the game with even overall records, one team clearly had the edge in energy, competitiveness and determination. “I thought we could compete much harder,” Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the game. “From the opening possession, we were not executing. When the game started to get away, you could have already seen it coming.”
Romar added that he was concerned about the team not competing, but did single out Wallace for his effort. “Our team did not compete, with the exception of Artem Wallace,” he said. “He out-competed everyone else.”
“I don’t normally look to score a lot of points, but I made a couple of baskets and then coach (Romar) called a play for me,” Wallace added. “Then things kind of went from there.”
Rebounds and defense were the name of the game for the home team, holding the Huskies to only 26 first-half points.
Arizona rebounded back from a poor shooting effort Thursday night in a loss to Washington State by hitting 60 from the field in the first half and nearly 50 percent from three-point range. Overall, the ‘Cats blistered Washington, shooting 57 percent for the game. UW had a very difficult time finding the bucket during the opening 20 minutes, scoring only 11 first-half field goals. By the time the second half had started, the Huskies had been out-rebounded 20-11 and outscored by 19 points.
By the time the Huskies switched into a zone with 3:53 left in the first half, the Huskies were still out-scored 8-6 to the end, helped by two bombs by Budinger.
Points: Wallace 12, Brockman 10, Dentmon 7, Pondexter 7, Hawes 6, Oliver 5, Appleby 3, Nelson 2, Gasser 2
Rebounds: Hawes 6, Pondexter 5, Appleby 3, Brockman 2, Wallace 2, Dentmon 2, Oliver 2, Gasser 2, Nelson 1
Assists: Appleby 4, Oliver 4, Nelson 3, Pondexter 2, Hawes 1
Steals: Oliver 3, Brockman 1, Nelson 1, Wallace 1, Appleby 1
Blocks: Hawes 2