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Wildcats earn best AP ranking since 2014-15 after sweep in Washington

Arizona's Allonzo Trier (35) is congratulated by Parker Jackson-Cartwright after scoring against Washington during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Seattle. Arizona won 76-68. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Arizona Wildcats’ game against Washington on Saturday came down to the wire, but great play from Lauri Markkanen cemented their win and weekend sweep in the northwest.

The 2-0 week earned the Wildcats a bump in the Associated Press rankings to No. 4.

Arizona, who found themselves ranked No. 5 last week, was one of five teams to move past Baylor. The Bears finished the week winless after dropping a six-point game in Lubbock to Texas Tech on Monday and a close one against No. 3 Kansas on Saturday.

This marks the highest ranking of the season for the Wildcats, and the closest they’ve been to the top team in basketball since they were named third-best in the nation after beginning the 2014-15 season 12-0.

The Wildcats beat the Huskies 76-68 thanks to Markkanen and his 26-point, 13-rebound double-double. That followed their 78-59 drubbing of Washington State on Thursday, a game in which Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored a career-high 20 points and head coach Sean Miller almost lost his mind in a 19-point affair.

Arizona is atop the Pac-12 Conference at 14-1 with a 25-3 overall record. The Wildcats have won four games in a row and 19 of their last 20 games.

Two Pac-12 teams are directly behind the Wildcats in the AP Poll, as UCLA (No. 5) earned just 40 fewer points than Arizona and Oregon (No. 6) also got a one-spot bump.

The Wildcats will host USC on Thursday and welcome ESPN College GameDay Basketball for their Saturday matchup against UCLA.

Undefeated Gonzaga still reigns as the best team in basketball, according to the AP poll.

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