Andrew Andrews scored 20 points and the Washington men’s basketball team pushed No. 23 Arizona to the brink, but fell 77-72 in front of 9,266, the largest crowd since 2012 at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Lorenzo Romar must have thought it would have been nice to have Markelle Fultz and Sam Timmins – the Huskies’ prized 2016 additions – help the Washington men’s basketball team Huskies combat No. 23 Arizona and Ryan Anderson.
Fultz, a five-star guard at DeMatha Catholic High in Maryland, made the cross-country flight for Saturday’s game and sat behind the bench, while Timmins, a big-bodied New Zealand forward, is redshirting this season after enrolling at UW last month.
“There will be a time when stuff like this that happened today won’t happen as much,” Romar said.
By the numbers
Arizona vs. UW men, all time. The Wildcats have won the past six, including the last three at Alaska Airlines Arena.
In front of their largest crowd in four years, the Huskies pushed the Wildcats to the brink, but fell short in the final minutes of a 77-72 loss because Anderson pushed them around in the paint.
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“He just took the game over on the backboard,” Romar said of Anderson, who finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds – eight on the offensive glass. “That was the difference in the game. … I thought our guys played together on defense and worked hard. But here we are without the victory.”
Washington (15-8, 7-4 Pac-12) came up shy of its first sellout in four years, but the 9,266 at Alaska Airlines Arena were treated to a thriller Saturday afternoon. The old building on Montlake was louder than it has been recently.
Washington forced 20 turnovers, blocked 10 shots, held Arizona to 39.4 percent shooting and thrilled the crowd with five highlight dunks.
Romar admitted those are the types of things Washington does in wins. Still, the Huskies suffered a humbling loss that dropped them into a third-place tie in the conference with Arizona (19-5, 7-4).
“When you shut something off, the really good ones find another way to beat you,” he said. “And that’s what they did. They found another way to beat us and it was on the backboard.”
Led by the 6-foot-9 Anderson, Arizona enjoyed a 43-29 rebounding advantage. The Wildcats also outscored the Huskies 21-6 on second-chance points.
“That’s the game right there,” UW senior guard Andrew Andrews said. “If we keep them off the glass, then we put ourselves in good shape.”
Romar said Arizona had eight offensive rebounds with 11:48 remaining and the Wildcats finished with nine the rest of the way, including four from Anderson.
“It’s unacceptable for one player to match our team in offensive rebounds,” UW freshman forward Marquese Chriss said. “I just think we got to work harder in boxing out and keeping big players like that off the boards wherever we’re at, doesn’t matter if its offense or defense. That’s just unacceptable.”
Five Huskies scored in double figures, including Andrews, who finished with a team-high 20 points.
Chriss added 18 points and Dejounte Murray 11. Matisse Thybulle had 11 points and career-high six steals while Malik Dime had 10 points and four blocks.
But UW’s balanced scoring came up short against Arizona’s one-two punch of Anderson and senior sharpshooter Gabe York, who had 18 points and four three-pointers.
York closed out the first half with two three-pointers that put Arizona ahead 44-38 at halftime.
In their earlier meeting – a 99-67 Wildcats rout – the Huskies were down 44-41 at the break before being outscored 55-26 in the second half.
This time UW outscored Arizona 34-33 in the second half. Still, the Huskies were unable to make the plays when it mattered at the end.
Dime’s two free throws tied it at 70 with 2:30 left, but Arizona closed it out with a 7-2 run.
Anderson converted a pair of foul shots before Kadeem Allen drained a three-pointer as the shot clock expired.
At the other end, Andrews knocked down two free throws to cut UW’s deficit to 75-72 and set up a big defensive possession with 51.3 seconds left.
York missed a three-pointer, but Anderson collected the offensive rebound and was fouled on the putback. He made both free throws that put Arizona up by five with 17 seconds remaining and capped the scoring.
Washington was short-handed because freshman forward Noah Dickerson was in foul trouble. He played just seven scoreless minutes before being disqualified.
Anderson and Arizona taught the young Huskies another lesson with seven games remaining in the regular season.
“We learned that there are people stronger than us and we have to be physical or else they’re going to hit you first,” Chriss said. “It’s a get hit or hit them first type of thing.”
• Washington will hold a blackout for its next home game on Feb. 18 against California.
• Arizona freshman Allonzo Trier, who was born in Seattle and attended out-of-state prep schools, played for the first time since Jan. 9 and finished with seven points off the bench before fouling out. He missed seven games due to a broken right hand.
|Struggles by the starting backcourt|
|Andrew Andrews led the Huskies with 20 points on Saturday, but he and Dejounte Murray had trouble against Arizona, combining for 10 of UW’s 18 turnovers:|
|Saturday’s resultsCalifornia 76, Stanford 61Arizona 77, Washington 72Arizona St. 67, Washington St. 55Oregon St. 60, Colorado 56|