Arizona knocked off Washington 77-70 to advance in the Pac-12 Tournament and face No. 4 seed USC on Thursday. The Wildcats led by five points at halftime, held a 14 point lead midway through the second half, and did enough to hang on for the victory. Washington’s Isaiah Stewart finished with a double-double and led all scorers with 29 points.
Arizona was far from perfect, but found a way to emerge victorious. The Wildcats only committed three turnovers in the second half and made all six free throw attempts in the final 90 seconds.
Despite 29 points on 9-of-11 shooting from Isaiah Stewart, the Huskies struggled to find the bottom of the net all game. The Huskies shot under 40 percent from the floor as a team and were only 3-for-23 from behind the 3-Point arc. Meanwhile, the Wildcats knocked down nine treys and had at least four players make at least two 3-Pointers in the same game for the first time all season.
The Huskies owned a 41-32 rebounding advantage and outscored Arizona 32-12 in the paint. Arizona countered with 18 assists on 23 made field goals. The Wildcats finished the game 23-for-58 shooting (39.7%).
Josh Green led Arizona with 19 points, four rebounds and three assists. Nico Mannion and Dylan Smith scored 14 points each and combined for eight assists.
Washington committed 23 turnovers and battled foul trouble throughout. Jaden McDaniels fouled out with 10 points. Jamal Bey also fouled out with two points.
Washington’s Isaiah Stewart was dominant. The freshmen big man finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor and 11-of-12 shooting from the charity stripe.
Arizona’s Dylan Smith was equally dominant in the second half, scoring all 14 of his points after intermission. Smith added six assists, four rebounds, and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the game’s final minute. Teammate Josh Green also turned in a noteworthy performance with 19 points on 5-of-10 shooting. The freshmen forward knocked down three 3-Pointers and went 6-for-7 from the foul line.
How Arizona Won?
Turnovers. Washington continued to pile them up all game long while Arizona’s own miscues minimized dramatically to just three in the second half. Overall, Washington committed 23 turnovers to Arizona’s 13. The Wildcats also did a fine job in contesting three-point shots, while bottling up everyone not named Isaiah Stewart. Although Stewart was in beast mode on the low block, Arizona’s defense kept the rest of the Huskies cold from the floor.
For a minute there, things were again starting to look wobbly for Arizona down the stretch. Washington had four offensive rebounds in the game’s final four minutes, which helped the Huskies trim a 65-53 deficit with just under five minutes remaining to a 71-66 score with 1:12 left. However, Arizona’s Smith (4 free throw makes) and Mannion (2 free throw makes) combined to sink six consecutive free throws in the final 60 seconds to stop Washington’s potential comeback in its tracks.
Player of the Game
Washington’s Isaiah Stewart. His stats, while playing with four fouls for the final 12 minutes of regulation, are simply too good to ignore. Honorable mention goes to Arizona’s Dylan Smith and Josh Green.
Stat of the Game
Washington’s 23 turnovers and 3-for-23 shooting from behind the 3-Point arc put the Huskies in an almost hopeless situation.
Pac-12 Tournament action continues with Arizona facing the No. 4 seed USC Trojans. Tip time is scheduled for Thursday at 2:30 p.m. PST.