It was always going to be a tough ask for the 12th ranked University of Washington Huskies to beat the 5th Arizona Wildcats in back to back games. The young Huskies were looking to use the momentum gained from last Saturdays 69-63 shock win over the Wildcats on their court. It’s not that the Huskies had delusions of grandeur. A nine game losing streak landed the Huskies in last place on the Pac 12 standings and the only way to salvage the season was a long Pac-12 Tournament run.
While the Huskies were fantasizing the Wildcats had one thing on their mind, payback for what they deemed an embarrassing regular season-ending home loss. When hope meets revenge it is not a fair fight. Take revenge every time.
Josh Green scored 19 points, Nico Mannion added 14 and Arizona opened the Pac-12 tournament with a 77-70 victory over Washington on Wednesday.
The fifth-seeded Wildcats (21-11) bounced back from an ugly home loss to Washington four days ago with a dominating start to the second half. Arizona held the No. 12 seed Huskies (15-17) without a field goal in the opening 6 1/2 minutes of the half, stretching a five-point lead to 15.
Dylan Smith had 14 points and six assists for the Wildcats, who move on to face No. 4 seed UCLA in Thursday’s semifinals.
Washington shot 3 for 23 from the 3-point arc and had 19 turnovers to end a once-promising season.
Isaiah Stewart led the Huskies with 29 points and 12 rebounds.
The Huskies were the last-place team no one wanted to face.
Picked third in the Pac-12 preseason poll, Washington failed to live up to expectations before starting to click the final two weeks of the regular season. The Huskies won three of their final four games, including a difficult road sweep of the Arizona schools.
Washington closed out the regular season with a 69-63 win at Arizona’s McKale Center.
Arizona struggled against Washington’s zone in that game, but was much more efficient against it in the first half of the Pac-12 tournament. Green had 12 points and the Wildcats led 35-30 at halftime despite no field goals in the final 6 1/2 minutes.
Arizona had all kinds of trouble with Stewart at the other end. The 6-foot-9 freshman repeatedly powered his way past the Wildcats, making all six of his shots while scoring 18 first-half points.
Arizona hit four of its first six shots to open the second half and shut down the Huskies to stretch the lead to 49-34. The Wildcats swarmed Stewart while holding Washington without a field goal until Jaden McDaniels hit a jumper at 13:28.
The Huskies whittled the lead to seven with four minutes left and pulled within 71-66 with 58 seconds left, but Arizona hit six free throws down the stretch.