This time Arizona was the one that came back from a deficit.
This time Max Hazzard hit a big basket to end the half.
This time – in its sixth time – Arizona was able to win on the road, beating Washington 75-72 in Seattle.
Arizona did all the right things in the final 30 seconds while Washington didn’t.
So, did Arizona win it? Or did Washington lose it? Depends on one’s perspective but does it really matter if you’re rooting for the Wildcats?
Arizona N-E-E-D-E-D a road win in the worst kind of way.
It’s been that kind of season for Arizona – consistently inconsistent in games. But Thursday night, Arizona found a way.
Assistant coach Danny Peters said it was the “experience” that helped them get through it.
“You can name a number of games in our loss column that have come down very similar to this,” Peters said on the team’s postgame radio show.
Live and learn. Finally?
Peters said associate head coach Jack Murphy got the coaches together to say that they needed to work more on the late-game situations. Head coach Sean Miller had already been working on it, he said.
They went to it a little bit more after last week’s meltdown to Arizona State.
This time Arizona found the magic.
They worked on: time, score, situation. Time score, situation.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Voila! Arizona found a way.
“I think it gave them a little bit of confidence to keep fighting the good fight as the game came to an end,” Peters aid. “They obviously did that tonight.”
Arizona is 14-6 overall and 4-3 in the Pac-12. Maybe the confidence will continue when it travels to surging Washington State on Saturday in Pullman, Wash.
It was senior Jemarl Baker who was the difference on Thursday, as he scored a career-high 17 points, including a huge 3-pointer with 44 seconds left in the game. He finished 4 for 7 from beyond the 3-point line.
“He’s just been waiting for his crack to see a couple go in and it was good see them go in,” Peters said. “The dude works extremely hard on his game. Those are the guys who you pull for … guys who do things the right way and stay in the gym and work on their games.
“To see Jemarl make a couple of shots it was one of the things we talked in our game plan (given) the uniqueness of their zone and their size of their players. You’re going to have to make a couple of tough ones.”
Midway through the second half, it appeared Arizona’s troubles would continue, given it couldn’t stop the Huskies amazing 3-point shooting. UW hit its 14th and final 3 with about a minute left to take a 72-70 lead, but Arizona found a way.
It helped that Arizona only had two turnovers in the second half and UA limited Washington to getting rebounds.
“I think that’s us being in that situation in the past and it not going in our favor,” Peters said. “… If you watched the first couple minutes of the second half we missed some wide open shots that didn’t go in. We came back made some down the stretch and balanced things out as the game moved along.”