The Washington Huskies came into Tucson to face the #8 Arizona Wildcats as a 24.5 underdog and playing just their 3rd game in 5 weeks but was able to make Arizona work for a victory up until the final 4 minutes, losing 79 to 95. Former Arizona Wildcat and current Washington PG Terrell Brown didn’t disappoint scoring 28 points and filling up the box score but wasn’t enough to pull off any type of upset against a well-oiled Arizona team.
With both teams coming off recent postponed games, it would not be surprising if both teams came out rusty but that was not the case. Hot shooting from Arizona from 3 and UW showed they could score against the #8 team in the country as well early on.
Arizona came out red hot from three hitting their first 5 three point shots in the first few minutes and also 6-6 from the foul line. Kerr Kriisa was responsible for 9 of the first 11 Arizona points, hitting two three’s and getting three points the old-fashioned way, getting fouled by Nate Roberts beyond the arc.
Washington started out hitting two for their first 3 three-point shots, thanks to a Jamal Bey and Emmitt Mathews but then went cold without hitting another 3 the rest of the half (2-9 from 3 in 1st half). Washington however, was getting things done close to the hoop with 30 out of their 41 points coming from 2 point FG’s. Terrell Brown did most of the damage but also got buckets from PJ Fuller, Emmitt Matthews and Jamal Bey on layups and mid range shots.
Arizona was looking to blow the game wide open, pulling out to a 13 point lead multiple times but UW was able to answer each time and pulled to as close as 6 points before the half. Riley Sorn brought some energy off the bench as well with 4 points and 3 rebounds to help UW stay within striking distance.
Arizona came in as 3rd Nationally in assists per made shot and they showed why, racking up 16 assists on 17 FG’s in the 1st half. The zone did not disrupt Arizona much and the Wildcats turned great shots into Excellent shots by making the extra pass. UW did have 6 assists on 16 FG’s but a night and day difference in the shot quality by each team.
UW stayed in the game early on forcing 10 Arizona turnovers and only turning it over 2 times. Timely buckets by Terrell Brown late in the half also helped UW stay in the game as Brown scored 9 of the last 11 points to end the half. Arizona went into the locker room with a 49-41 lead.
Arizona was led by Bennedict Mathurin with 13 points and Kerr Kriisa with 12 points. Washington was led by Terrell Brown with 19 points and 6 points from PJ Fuller, as well as 5 points a piece from Matthews and Bey.
2nd half offered Washington opportunities for a comeback
The 2nd half started with some back and forth baskets by each team, led by Brown finding Mathews for an alley-oop dunk and Matthews followed with a 3 pointer to pull Washington within 8. Arizona cooled off momentarily but a few early Washington turnovers helped Arizona hold onto a cushion of a lead.
Langston Wilson and Riley Sorn both brought some energy and production off the bench with Nate Roberts ineffective with foul trouble. Down double digits, Wilson had a stretch where he had a big block that gave UW the ball and a few offensive boards that led to a put back layup for Wilson. Helped UW stay in the game and Wilson and Sorn both combined for 8 points, 10 boards and 1 block between the two.
Washington’s defense would keep UW in the game with 18 steals that turned into 25 points off of turnovers. Daejon Davis struggled on offense but had 5 steals that helped chip away the lead and Terrell Brown matched Davis with 5 steals as well. Usually 10 steals from your backcourt would help build a lead but at least kept UW in the game.
Terrell Brown also put on his PG hat on in the 2nd half and helped get other guys going with 4 assists in the 2nd half. Emmitt Mathews hit three 3’s off feeds from Brown in the 2nd half plus the alley-oop play from Brown earlier. Matthews three pointer with 7:40 left got UW within 5 points, which was the closest UW would get the rest of the way.
UW had several chances to chip away further but couldn’t capitalize. In one stretch UW had three wide open 3’s on one possession to get within 5 but couldn’t convert. Arizona then quickly scored an And-1 play, which basically turned into a 6 point play and pulled to an 11 point Arizona lead. This would be a common theme in the 2nd half where it seemed like Arizona would answer every UW run with an And-1 play. Arizona had at least 5 or 6 And-1 baskets and converted their free throws to keep UW from getting any closer.
Another theme of the night was a timely Kerr Kriisa three pointer, which he had 6 of them in the game. Kriisa hit a big 3 with 5:30 left to build up a 10 point lead. Terrell Brown would quickly answer by getting to the line but only hit 1 out of 2 free throws to pull within 9 for a chance at one last run.
Washington threw a full court press at Arizona and it looked to be a good move as Daejon Davis got a steal under the hoop but missed a layup trying to draw a foul. Arizona took the miss and quickly moved the ball up court for an open layup and of course…. An And-1 basket to give Arizona an 82 to 70 lead with 5:05 remaining.
The wheels fell off after that and UW seemed to run out of gas. A few late buckets helped UW cover the spread (24.5) but Arizona was just too much for UW and pulled out a 95 to 79 victory over an overmatched Washington team.
Washington moves to a 5-6 record and 0-1 in the Pac 12 but Washington did show some signs of life in Tucson. Washington caused 21 Arizona Turnovers with 18 steals that led to 25 points off turnovers and was able to get some scoring production outside of Terrell Brown from Emmitt Mathews, PJ Fuller and a combo of Langston Wilson/Riley Sorn. UW will need production from other guys including Daejon Davis and Jamal Bey if UW wants to compete in any conference games this year.
Terrell Brown led the way with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals in his comeback game as a former Arizona Wildcat and Emmitt Mathews finished with 16 points on 4-6 shooting from 3. . Brown’s former teammates however, were too much to contend with. Mathurin finished with 27 points, Christian Koloko with 22 and 10; and Kerr Kriisa with 21 points. The player of the game may have been Dalen Terry as he just missed a triple double (13 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists) and hit some timely buckets to help Arizona extend leads. Arizona put on an offensive clinic with 28 assists and could have easily been over 30+ but was also very careless with the ball with 21 turnovers. Very strange game to say the least and another loss to the Mike Hopkins resume.
Washington heads next to Salt Lake City, Utah to play their 2nd conference game on Thursday January 6th to try and even up their conference record.