Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats wear down another opponent — Washington — into season-low scoring


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WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY RATING?:
PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)

ARIZONA 71, WASHINGTON 62
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS
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HITTING A LOW AGAINST ARIZONA
Teams that have scored season-low points against Wildcats
*Neutral court (Madison Square Garden)
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ArizonaLogo logo.Wash

Washington has challenged Arizona as much as any Pac-12 team with a 13-11 record against the Wildcats since the 2003-04 season. Only UCLA, next on Arizona’s schedule, has a better record against the Wildcats in that span with a 14-10 record.

In many of Arizona’s 13 losses to the Huskies, who featured NBA talent like Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy and Isaiah Thomas, Lorenzo Romar’s team was too much on the offensive end for Arizona.

Arizona allowed Washington to score at least 80 points in eight of those defeats with three of them over 90. Robinson scored a career-high 31 points on 11 of 15 shooting from the field when Washington beat Arizona 96-83 in Seattle in 2004.

An Associated Press report of that game mentioned that Lute Olson could do nothing “except sit back in his chair with a palm flattened against his cheek” while watching Robinson and the Huskies roll.

Ten years later, Arizona has reversed the Washington dominance by winning three consecutive games, including Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats have allowed the once-potent Huskies an average of only 55.7 points in those three games.

Washington was off to a potentially high score with a 35-33 halftime lead Saturday but mustered only 27 points in the second half. They shot only 30.3 percent from the field after halftime, including an 0-for-7 performance from the three-point line. Washington’s best player, guard C.J. Wilson, made only 4 of his 13 attempts in the second half after making 4 of 6 before halftime.

Olson’s palm was ripe from cheering this time from the McKale stands as he watched Arizona’s defense take down the Huskies.

“That’s what good teams do, battle through adversity,” said Nick Johnson, who staked an early claim to Pac-12 Player of the Year consideration with 24 points.

Washington’s 62 points is a season-low for the Huskies, who were averaging 80.3 points before the game. The Wildcats have limited an amazing eight teams, including the Huskies, to a season-low total this season (see graphic).

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LOWEST HIGH SCORE ALLOWED IN A SEASON
BY ARIZONA WILDCATS AT McKALE CENTER

* Seven home games remaining
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It’s no secret how Arizona is so successful: Defense and rebounding in the paint. It’s not steals and perimeter shooting. Arizona’s long, athletic and intimidating presence in the paint with Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley and Aaron Gordon makes scoring inside and rebounding a chore.

They wear down the opponent and Arizona’s perimeter players (Johnson, T.J. McConnell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Gabe York) are the knockout blow with their athleticism and abilities. Opponents crumble in the second half, shooting only about 35 percent from the field and 25 percent from three-point range.

“With so many big bodies, you’re banging that entire time, down the stretch, we could have just gotten worn down a little bit physically,” Romar told the Seattle Times. “Our guys gave it everything they had. Our guys battled and were physical. I thought our guys were tough.

“And after so long, maybe down the stretch, it just got to us — their length.”

TOP FIVE ARIZONA REBOUNDING TEAMS
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UNLV’s Twin Towers — Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith — combine to average an incredible 24.2 points and 22.6 rebounds a game. Against Arizona on Dec. 7, they combined for 22 points but only 16 rebounds (Smith had only six) in the Wildcats’ 63-58 win. That is a season-low in rebounds for Smith, who had 21 boards against ASU’s Jordan Bachynski (9.5 rebounds a game) earlier this season.

Washington’s inside presence of Perris Blackwell (12 points and 12 rebounds) and Shawn Kemp Jr. (nine points and three rebounds, all in the first half) played adequately. But each got in foul trouble banging against Tarczewski, Gordon and Ashley and were non-factors down the stretch.

“It’s tough,” Wilcox told the Seattle Times. “We got to work, especially with this small lineup. Every shot that goes up, that’s when the war begins and we had to try to keep them off the glass.

“The first half we did a good job at that. The second half, they were relentless on the glass. That’s a main reason why they’re No. 1.”

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ARIZONA BEST STARTS
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ARIZONA OVERALL PRODUCTIVITY RATING
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ARIZONA PAC-10/12
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:
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ARIZONA AS NO. 1 TEAM
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ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS
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WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.

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