Pac-12 basketball is known to be up and down, high flying, higher scoring affairs. Not so Thursday night as the Arizona Wildcats and Washington Huskies played a game that looked like it belonged in run down 1956 gyms from the movie "Hoosiers". At the end of the defensive, turnover plagued, contest it was the Wildcats on top 57-53.
For most of the night it was an open question whether either team would have more made field goals than turnovers. In the first half Arizona was particularly wretched in terms of efficiency and trailed 28-23 at the break. Nick Johnson, Arizona's eventual leading scorer with 15 points, had just two points at intermission. He made the one shot that he attempted in the first half and was not heard from otherwise.
The second half was a different story, though, as the Wildcats took better care of the ball and outscored the Huskies by nine in the second stanza. Washington's ineptness from three point range (8%) allowed the Cats to secure long rebounds and convert enough fast break opportunities to overtake their canine hosts. The Huskies, all season a team that has needed defense to turn into easy baskets, shot just 36.8% from the field and were outrebounded 31-26.
Indicative of the evening that was for Washington, C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs led the Huskies with 11 points apiece, but were a combined 7/23 from the field and 1/9 from beyond the arc. Aziz N'Diaye corralled 11 rebounds on the night but found his teammates too often beaten to the boards by Arizona's Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, and Nick Johnson, all of whom combined for 20 caroms.
The Huskies are now 4-4 in conference and await the surging Arizona State Sun Devils Saturday night. Another loss would not only drop the Huskies below .500, but also cause them to plummet into the conference's second division. Head coach Lorenzo Romar has work to do between now and 6:00 p.m. Saturday.