GAME: Washington (13-7, 6-2 Pac-12) at Arizona (14-7, 5-3 Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 4 p.m., McHale Center, Tucson. MEETING: 71st (Wildcats lead 44-26). RANKINGS: Neither team ranked. TV: ESPN. RADIO: KJR 950 AM, 102.9 FM.
If the University of Washington is to have any chance at making the NCAA Tournament, outside of winning the Pac-12 Tournament, the Huskies need a victory over a quality opponent. They have yet to record one of those, but get another chance Saturday.
Washington has not won in Tucson since March 4, 2006, 70-67, when Brandon Roy captained the Huskies. The Wildcats are 10-2 at home after blowing away Washington State 85-61 Thursday.
Having won four of its past six contests, Arizona features three double-figure scorers in senior guard Kyle Fogg (12.2), 6-6 junior forward Solomon Hill (11.9) and 6-7 senior forward Jesse Perry (11.5), and the Pac-12’s best collection of 3-point shooters. The Wildcats make 7.81 3-pointers per game, the top mark in the conference.
Washington has won consecutive road games (at Utah on Jan. 7) after starting the season 0-5.
“It’s been a maturation process,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “I think we are getting it. We are entering the second half of conference (play). This is about the time you have to get things going.”
SERIES: Dates to Dec. 29, 1964, when Arizona defeated Washington 77-63 in the second round of the Los Angeles Classic. Washington has won four of the past six against Arizona, including a 77-75 overtime decision in the 2011 Pac-10 Tournament in a game won by Isaiah Thomas’s last-second shot. Romar is 11-10 all time against the Wildcats.
LAST GAME (Washington, Jan. 26): Washington rode Tony Wroten’s 22 points to win its second road game this season, 60-54, in Tempe. The Huskies, a poor free throw shooting team, hit 12 of their final 15 shots from the line to hold off the Sun Devils, who hung in despite the absence of Trent Lockett, their best player who missed his third consecutive game with an ankle injury. The win pushed the Huskies into a tie for the Pac-12 lead. C.J. Wilcox returned after a three-game absence and hit four key free throws late, his only points in 10 minutes.
LAST GAME (Arizona, Jan. 26): Fogg scored 20 points and Hill 17, leading a flurry of Arizona 3-pointers that buried Washington State 85-61. Fogg, 4 of 6 on 3s, scored 18 in the first half as the Wildcats (14-7, 5-3) built a 42-27 lead. Hill, who made of 3 of 4 3-pointers, scored 15 in the second half. Brendon Lavender added 14, including 4 of 5 3s. Overall, Arizona made 15 of 26 from behind the line. WSU’s Faisal Aden, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week left the game with what appeared to be a serious left knee injury with 4:02 left in the first half.
UW STATS/NOTES: Washington averages 77.1 ppg (2nd, Pac-12), and yields 71.4 (11th, Pac-12) . . . Washington ranks sixth in the conference in field goal percentage (45.4 percent) and 11th in free throw shooting (61.7) . . . Washington, which led the Pac-12 in 3-point shooting earlier in the season, has slipped to ninth at 36.1 percent . . . UW continues to lead the Pac-12 in rebounding at 40.3 rpg . . . With 22 points against Arizona State, Tony Wroten boosted his scoring average to 17.1, No. 2 in the Pac-12 behind Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham (17.8) . . . Aziz N’Diaye is tied for second in conference rebounding at 8.1 per game . . . Abdul Gaddy ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in assists at 4.6 apg . . . C.J. Wilcox, who played 10 minutes against Arizona State after missing three games with a stress fracture, continues to lead the conference in free throw shooting, making 90.9 percent of his attempts . . . Austin Seferian-Jenkins scored his first points for UW against Arizona, making 2 of 5 shots for four points . . . Wroten’s thunderous second-half dunk over ASU’s Jonathan Gilling was ranked the No. 1 play of the day on ESPN’s nightly SportsCenter rankings.
ARIZONA STATS/NOTES: The Wildcats average 70.0 ppg (T6 in the Pac-12) and yield just 61.9 (4th, Pac-12) . . . Arizona is the fourth-best free throw shooting team in the conference (70.1 percent), but the third-worst field goal shooting club (44.4 percent) . . . The Wildcats are the league’s second-best 3-point shooting team, making 38.1 percent, and the best in the league at preventing 3-pointers, yielding just 26.5 percent . . . Arizona makes 7.81 3-pointers per game, top mark in the conference . . . Arizona does not have scorer ranked among the conference’s top 10, and just one ranked in the top 20 (Kyle Fogg, 20th, 12.2 ppg) . . . Arizona is 10-2 at McHale Center.
COACHES: Romar is in his 10th season as Washingtons head coach. Romar has taken the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament six times, and has won three Pac-10 Tournament titles (2005, 2010, 2011). Romar, who signed a 10-year contract extension in April of 2011, won his his 200th game at Washington Dec. 16, 2011, when the Huskies defeated UC Santa Barbara. He both his 300th career victory and his 100th as a conference coach when the Huskies 76-63 Jan. 21.
Sean Miller: Miller is in his third year. In 2010-11, he led UA to a 30-7 record, a Pac-10 regular-season championship and an NCAA West Regional final berth. A University of Pittsburgh graduate, Miller began his college head coaching career at Xavier, where he produced four 20-win teams in five years, leading each of those teams to the NCAA Tournament.
ART THIEL’S TAKE: Wroten’s thunderdunk was the talk of the post-game for how it ignited the Huskies and flattened the Sun Devils. But the fact that Washington held ASU to 37 percent shooting, and made free throws down the stretch, were the bigger long-term developments in UW’s progress.
Arizona is an entirely different story, especially at home. They no longer have Derrick Williams, but the Wildcats are formidable from the outside, as Washington State can attest. Hill and Fogg may be the best forward tandem in the Pac-12. These are two teams on an uptick, but only one is at home, and the overwrought Miller’s sideline antics are a show in themselves. Arizona 80, Washington 77.
STEVE RUDMAN’S TAKE: The thing that stands out about Arizona is how well it shoots the 3-point shot — against WSU Thursday, the Wildcats were 15 of 26 — and how well they defend against it: Arizona leads the conference in thwarting the three (26.5 percent).
Washington doesn’t defend the three (or anything else) very well, ranking eighth in the conference. So unless the Huskies stiffen up Saturday, they could get run out of McHale Center. Arizona 75, Washington 68.
COMING UP: Washington returns to Alaska Airlines Arena to play the Los Angeles schools, UCLA on Feb. 2 and USC on Feb. 4.
University of Washington 2011-12 Schedule/Results
(Rankings Are Current)
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|11/4/11||vs. Seattle Pacific||—||—||W||77-60||0-0|
|11/12/11||vs. Georgia State||—||—||W||91-74||1-0|
|11/13/11||vs. Florida Atlantic||—||—||W||77-71||2-0|
|11/20/11||at Saint Louis||—||—||L||77-64||3-1|
|11/25/11||vs. Houston Baptist||—||—||W||88-65||4-1|
|12/2/11||at Nevada||—||—||L||76-73 (OT)||4-2|
|12/16/11||vs. UC Santa-Barbara||—||—||W||87-80||5-4|
|12/18/11||vs. South Dakota St.||—||—||L||92-73||5-5|
|12/22/11||vs. Cal-State Northridge||—||—||W||74-50||6-5|
|12/29/11||vs. Oregon State||—||—||W||95-80||7-5|
|1/10/12||vs. Seattle U.||—||—||W||91-83||10-6|
|1/15/12||vs. Washington St.||—||—||W||75-65||11-6|
|1/26/12||at Arizona St.||—||—||W||60-54||13-7|
|2/12/12||at Oregon St.||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/16/12||vs. Arizona State||—||—||—||—||—|
|2/25/12||at Washington St.||—||—||—||—||—|