How sweep it is … for the Arizona Wildcats.
Arizona went to the great northwest and is now leaving with a relatively easy two-game sweep of Washington State and Washington.
The latest victim was Washington, a team that put up a fight for about 10 minutes then faded for the next 30 minutes.
Arizona looked like a top-5 team on Saturday – well, all weekend – in its 92-68 win over the Huskies.
Arizona moves to 22-2 in 2022. And, oh yes, 12-1 in the Pac-12 to stay atop the conference race. Arizona has won six consecutive games.
Once again Arizona had to dig out of a poor start, getting down by as many as 14 points.
But like in many of the other games, Arizona stormed back behind Bennedict Mathurin & Co.
Mathurin finished with a team-high 25 points. Azuolas Tubelis added 21 points and 10 rebounds. Dalen Terry added 12 points and was his usually pest to an opponent.
What Arizona wasn’t on Saturday was generous. It had only nine turnovers, half of what it had the last two games.
Whether it was the pace or the patience, Arizona benefited from being less gifting.
Head coach Tommy Lloyd was impressed with the effort and the lack of turnovers all the while not being conservative with its play.
“You can’t get conservative; you got to be in an attack mode against these guys, you got to make some tough passes because it’s always hard to play against (the zone UW presents),” Lloyd said on his postgame radio show. “I didn’t want to be conservative and for us only have nine turnovers and be that aggressive in the paint. What did we shoot in the second half? Sixty-nine percent? That’s pretty tremendous.”
Said Azuolas: “We shared the ball for easy baskets.”
Arizona held a 45-36 lead at half, leading by as many as 28 points midway through the second half. Arizona used a 15-1 stretch that eventually ended the half with a 34-11 run.
“Washington deserves a ton of credit,” Lloyd told reporters in Washington. “They came out and played extremely hard. We were a little bit back on our heels. Their zone was a little bit aggressive. It took us a bit of time to work ourselves into that game.”
Lloyd said his team got “tougher” and then went inside or close to the basket. At one point, Arizona had eight consecutive points, all coming on dunks. Tubelis, Christian Koloko and Oumar Ballo all dominated close to the basket.
The only answer Washington had was former UA player turned Washington standout Terrell Brown, Jr., who finished with a game-high 29 points. But he was hardly enough to get by Arizona.
“At the start of the game, they were doing a really good job pressuring us out that we were running our offense almost at half court,” Lloyd said on the radio. “Whether their pressure softened, or we were able to kind of break it down a little bit … I don’t know maybe a combination of both. But we really got the ball closer to the 3-point line. We dug our heels in the ground, moved their hands and bodies and there passing lanes and windows.”