No. 5 Arizona survives Washington to extend home streak
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Azuolas Tubelis had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 5 Arizona rallied from shaky starts to both halves to extend its home winning streak to 28 straight games with a 70-67 win over Washington on Thursday night.
The Wildcats (14-1, 3-1 Pac-12) struggled against Washington’s zone most of the night, keeping it close with long runs in each half. Arizona missed its first 10 shots of the second half before scoring 13 straight points to go up six, but still had a hard time shaking the Huskies.
Washington (9-7, 1-4) overcame a late 4 1/2-minute scoring drought to pull within 70-67 with 18 seconds left and got the ball back after Tubelis missed a free throw. The Huskies struggled to get a good look in the closing seconds and a 3-pointer by Keion Brooks Jr. fell well short.
Brooks and Cole Bajema had 16 points apiece for Washington.
The Wildcats grinded out a road win over rival Arizona State in their last game and had all kinds of problems with Washington’s 2-3 zone in their return to McKale Center.
Arizona struggled to find seams in the middle of the zone and labored to get open shots on numerous half-court possessions.
The Wildcats had just as many problems on defense, repeatedly leaving the Huskies open for 3s in transition and kickouts while falling into a 38-24 hole.
Tubelis was the lone player to have consistent offensive success against Washington’s defense, scoring three times in transition before Washington could set up its defense.
The Lithuanian big man snapped McKale Center fans out of their doldrums and his team with it on a dunk with just over five minutes left. An energized Arizona then reeled off 15 straight points, taking a 39-38 lead on Kerr Kriisa’s corner 3-pointer.
Washington led 42-41 at halftime after hitting 6 of 13 from 3.
Arizona had two free throws in the opening 8 1/2 minutes of the second half before going on a 13-0 run to go up 56-50.
Washington couldn’t have asked for a much better start at both ends of the floor while building the 14-point lead. The Huskies allowed Arizona back in it with big runs and went 3 for 14 from 3 in the second half to lose their sixth straight to the Wildcats.
Arizona had its worst offensive game of the year, yet still found a way to win its 26th straight home game under coach Tommy Lloyd — longest to start a career in Pac-12 history.
Washington: plays at Arizona State on Sunday.
Arizona: hosts Washington State Saturday.