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When asked by ESPN play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch if Arizona is a Final Four team, former UCLA and NBA center Bill Walton responded “no” citing the Wildcats’ inability to consistently incorporate their big men.
“This is the best I’ve seen them play this year,” Walton said of the Wildcats during their 70-52 win over Washington at McKale Center. “But are they as good (as some of the nation’s elite teams)? They don’t utilize their big guys enough. They could be. … ”
Walton has a point because Arizona played one of its better games against the Huskies while getting their post players more involved.
He made this comment while Arizona freshmen center Kaleb Tarczewski put together his finest game against one of the Pac-12’s top post players, Washington senior Aziz N’Diaye. Tarczewski had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and pulled down eight rebounds. He received an ovation when leaving the game with 2:30 left.
Angelo Chol blocked two shots and Brandon Ashley chipped in 10 points and pulled down five rebounds.
While the young frontcourt players stood tall against Washington, it was the guard play of Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson that awoke the Wildcats out of their doldrums. Lyons and Johnson fueled fast-break opportunities in the second half and combined for 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Solomon Hill led the UA with 19 points. He also pulled down six rebounds.
It was only the third time Arizona has swept a season series from Washington with Lorenzo Romar as the Huskies’ head coach.