After beating Arizona in Tuscon on Saturday, Washington wasn’t able to pull off the back-to-back upset of the Wildcats and lost in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament, 77-70.
In a game where the No. 12 seeded Huskies weren’t at their best, they managed to keep things within potential striking distance right up until the final moments. With 58 seconds left Washington freshman PG Marcus Tsohonis was able to make the second of his two free throws to bring the Huskies within 5 points, 66-71. Unfortunately, that was the closest they would get, ultimately falling to the No. 5 seeded Wildcats.
Freshman big man Isaiah Stewart lead the way for the Huskies offensively with 29 points, including 18 points in the first half and his fifth three-pointer of the season. He also collected 12 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season. The only other Huskies to score in double digits were Tsohonis with 14, Elijah Hardy with 11, and Jaden McDaniels with 10.
Both Stewart and McDaniels, as well as Jamal Bey, got into foul trouble late in the first half. After Stewart picked up his forth foul with just over 11 minutes left to play, Mike Hopkins decided to keep his leading scorer in the game despite the risk of fouling out. However, it was McDaniels and Bey who ultimately fouled out late in the game.
The Huskies weren’t getting many stops but were able to keep up with Arizona’s scoring in the first half and went into the break down 30-35. It was in the first several minutes of the second half that made the biggest difference in this game, as Arizona came out hot to take a 41-30 lead, while Washington struggled to make baskets. In fact, Washington didn’t make their first field goal until nearly 7 minutes into the second half.
Arizona held Washington to just 39.7% from the field, including going an ice cold 3-23 from behind the arc. Arizona also forced 19 Washington turnovers, 12 of which came in the first half. Two of the most frustrating turnovers in the game occurred when two of McDaniels’ inbound passes were picked off by Arizona.
McDaniels hit the Huskies second three-pointer of the game with about 7:40 to go to pull the Huskies within 10. Washington started trading baskets with Arizona, but unfortunately Arizona was making shots and Washington wasn’t getting enough stops. After Tsohonis’ free throw with under a minute to go, Bey fouled out when he made a poor decision to foul as Arizona’s shot clock was winding down. Arizona's Dylan Smith made both of his free throws and the Wildcats went on to secure their win.
Arizona had four players score in the double digits, with Josh Green leading the way with 19 points.
The best that Washington can hope for now is an NIT bid, which despite their losing record is not beyond the realm of possibility. As of the end of this game, Washington had an RPI ranking of 100. If they don’t receive a bid from the NIT, this brings an end to a disappointing season for the Huskies who failed to reach the NCAA tournament despite having three former five-star recruits on their roster to start the season.