ARIZONA BASKETBALL

No. 5 Arizona hoops upset by Washington State to end home winning streak

Jan 7, 2023, 5:20 PM
Arizona Wildcats guard Kylan Boswell #4 during the first  half of a basketball game between the Was...
Arizona Wildcats guard Kylan Boswell #4 during the first half of a basketball game between the Washington State Cougars and the Arizona Wildcats on January 7, 2023 at McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

TUCSON (AP) — Mouhamed Gueye had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Washington State ended No. 5 Arizona’s 28-game home winning streak with a 74-61 victory on Saturday.

The Cougars (7-10, 2-4 Pac-12) shut down Arizona’s once-potent offense, creating a rare subdued atmosphere inside McKale Center. Washington State built an 18-point lead midway through the second half, withstood Arizona’s late run and shot 12-of-28 from 3-point range to end what had been the nation’s third-longest active winning streak.

The Wildcats (14-2, 3-2) struggled offensively for the third straight game, shooting 32% and 4-for-25 from the 3-point arc. Arizona had its fewest halftime points (27) in two seasons under coach Tommy Lloyd and ran out of gas after a late 12-2 run cut the Cougars’ lead to five.

Azoulas Tubelis had 29 points and 14 rebounds for Arizona.

Arizona got defensive while its high-octane offense dropped down to fourth gear the previous two games.

Once the nation’s highest-scoring and best-shooting team, the Wildcats scored 139 combined points against Arizona State and Washington, winning both behind their defense.

The Wildcats again struggled offensively against Washington State, forcing up several contested shots inside while going 1-for-8 from 3 in the first half.

Like he did against Washington, Tubelis was the only Arizona player to have much of an offensive impact, scoring 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting. The rest of the Wildcats went a combined 4-for-16.

Arizona’s defense had some success, holding the Cougars scoreless for more than 4.5 minutes and 7-for-22 on their 2-point shots. Washington State made up for it by going 7-for-15 from 3, taking a 37-27 halftime lead on TJ Bamba’s 3 at the buzzer.

Washington State pushed the lead to 13 early in the second half and kept hitting shots each time Arizona tried to make a run.

DJ Rodman hit a 3-pointer after Washington State broke Arizona’s full-court press and another the next possession. Arizona then gave Gueye a free run down the middle of the lane for a dunk that put the Cougars up 55-37.

Arizona turned up the defensive pressure, holding Washington State to two free throws in a little over five minutes, cutting the lead to 61-56 with a 12-2 run.

It turned out to be the Wildcats’ last gasp. Washington State pushed the lead back to double digits and Wildcats’ fans to the exits.

BIG PICTURE

Washington State arrived in the desert as the Pac-12’s most prolific 3-point shooting team. The Cougars were again good from the arc and played super defensively to knock off a top-5 team on the road.

Arizona needs to find a way to get its offense revved up again. Once scoring more than 90 points per game, the Wildcats have failed to eclipse 70 in three straight games since the nonconference schedule ended. A drop in the AP Top 25 is coming on Monday.

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