SEATTLE — Nick Johnson scored 15 points, five in the final 2 minutes, and No. 8 Arizona rallied from an early deficit for an ugly 57-53 victory over Washington on Thursday night, snapping a three-game losing streak to the Huskies.
Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill both added 10 points for the Wildcats, who won their second straight after losing at home to UCLA. This victory by the Wildcats won’t be remembered for the quality of play, but Arizona remained just one game behind Oregon at the top of the Pac-12 Conference standings.
Arizona trailed 48-46 with 4:34 left after C.J. Wilcox hit Washington’s first 3-pointer of the game. The Wildcats (18-2, 6-2 Pac-12) then closed on an 11-5 run and got plenty of help from the careless Huskies.
Wilcox and Scott Suggs both scored 11 points to lead Washington (12-9, 4-4), which has lost four straight for the first time since 2008.
Arizona won despite committing 17 turnovers, shooting just 35 percent and making only three 3-pointers. But their defensive effort made the game just as ugly for the Huskies, who finished 1 of 12 on 3-pointers and committed 17 turnovers.
Kaleb Tarczewski added 10 points for the Wildcats, all in the first half.
Arizona had a chance to pull away midway through the second half after Wilcox went to the bench with his fourth foul. After three free throws Hill and Lyons scored around the rim on consecutive possessions and the Wildcats had a 44-39 lead. Lyons had a chance to push the lead to eight, but missed a 3-pointer in transition.
Wilcox re-entered the game with 7:23 left following a timeout and Washington’s offense immediately improved. Suggs scored four straight points followed by a driving layup by Abdul Gaddy and finally the Huskies first 3-pointer after missing their first 10 attempts. Gaddy recovered his dribble in the lane and found Wilcox open in the corner for the 3 to give Washington a 48-46 lead with 4:34 remaining.
Lyons answered with a driving layup as the shot clock expired and Hill scored off a careless Washington turnover to put the Wildcats back ahead. Wilcox was fouled by Johnson shooting a 3-pointer and after a timeout, hit two of three to tie the game at 50-50 with 3:05 left.
Kemp split free throws and Johnson scored on a runner in the lane to put the Wildcats up 52-51 with 2 minutes left. Tarczewski fouled out with 1:36 left after fouling N’Diaye, but the 46 percent free-throw shooter missed both and Hill knocked down a jumper, only to have Suggs quickly answer on a drive with 1:08 left.
Arizona coach Sean Miller decided to regroup and called a timeout with 51 seconds left and the Wildcats up one point. Off the inbounds pass, Johnson quickly got into the lane and was fouled with 41 seconds left. His first free throw rattled in and out and he made the second to put Arizona up 55-53. Washington tried to run a backdoor lob for Wilcox but Gaddy’s pass was too high and the turnover forced Washington to foul with 26.8 seconds left. Johnson hit both this time and after N’Diaye missed a desperation 3, the Wildcats dribbled out the clock.
Feeding off an electric home crowd, Washington missed its chance to blow out the Wildcats from the start. Washington took a 16-5 lead, only to have Arizona answer with a 16-5 run. The Huskies led 28-23 and lost after leading at halftime for the second time this season.