The Huskies ran into a road block Saturday as the Wildcats extended their winning streak over UW to six in a row.
Considering Washington lost by an average of 17.4 points during its five-game losing streak to Arizona – including last month’s 99-67 rout – Saturday’s 77-72 defeat would suggest the Huskies are closing the gap on the 23rd-ranked Wildcats.
But as senior guard Andrew Andrews noted, UW is past the point of feeling good about moral victories. Unless the teams meet again the postseason, Andrews will end his college career 0-6 against Arizona – which is the only Pac-12 team he has not beaten.
More immediately, the loss dropped Washington (15-8) into a third-place tie with Arizona (19-5) in the Pac-12 at 7-4. If the teams tie in the final conference standings, the Wildcats would get the nod because they swept the regular-season series.
Here’s a few notes from the game.
– The Huskies have forced double-digit turnovers in all 23 games this season.
– UW forced 5 Arizona turnovers over 2 minutes and 22 seconds in the second half that led to an 8-0 run.
– Huskies had a 6-0 run over 1 minute and 33 seconds in the second half.
– UW had five players reach double-figure scoring for the fifth time this season.
– Recorded his 15th double-digit scoring game of the season.
– Over the past six games Chriss has scored in double-figures every time and is averaging 16.5 ppg in those games.
– Had his 22nd double-digit scoring game of the season (78th career).
– Recorded his 12th 20+ point game of the season (19th career).
– Career-high 6 steals (prev.: 4 vs. Seattle, 12/22/15).
– Recorded his 6th double-digit scoring effort of the season, his 2nd straight and 3rd in the last four games.
– Tied his career high with 3 blocks.
– Had his 16th double-digit scoring game of the season.
– Dime’s 4 blocks give him 67 on the year which is tied for second most in a single-season at UW (David Dixon – 2001-02, Chris Welp – 1985-86).
– Had his 7th game of the season with 10 or more points.
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And here’s five takeaways.
UW’S BEST NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO BEAT ARIZONA – The Huskies forced 20 turnovers, collected 13 steals, blocked 10 shots and held the Wildcats to 39.4 percent shooting – the lowest for Arizona in Pac-12 play. Washington had five players score in double digits, finished with 12 assists on 24 baskets and five dunks that thrilled the near-capacity crowd of 9,266, which was the largest at Alaska Airlines Arena in four years. The Huskies also crushed the Wildcats in points off of turnovers 31-14 and they couldn’t come away with the win. Arizona proved the old adage in basketball is true – size matters. The Wildcats have a NBA-sized front line and they dominated the game. More to the point, 6-foot-9 forward Ryan Anderson dominated the game. In three games – including one with Boston College in 2013 – the fifth-year senior has been a beast against UW. He tallied 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting while helping the Eagles to an 89-78 win three years ago. Last month he scored 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field. On Saturday, Anderson crushed the Huskies with 22 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the field and 10-for-11 shooting on free throws. He also had 15 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass. Arizona won the rebounding battle 43-29 and outscored UW 31-14 on second-chance points.
MARQUESE CHRISS IS PLAYING LIKE THAT DUDE — In the past three games, Chriss is averaging 17 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1 block and 28.3 minutes. Perhaps just as important, he managed to avoid major foul trouble in each of those games. Granted, Chriss struggled to stay on the court in the first half of Wednesday’s win over Arizona State. But he rebounded in the second half for 17 of his 19 points. On Saturday, Chriss was at times sensational with putback jams and alley-oop dunks. He showed off his offensive versatility and knocked down a pair of mid-range jumpers. Chriss also drained a three-pointer. He was 7 of 13 from the floor and 3 of 4 on free throws. Chriss collected seven rebounds and had a block and a steal to offset three turnovers in 35 minutes.
MATISSE THYBULLE HAS A MONSTER GAME — Thybulle was a menace on the defensive end with a career-high six steals, which was the most for a UW player since C.J. Wilcox had six against USC on Feb. 10, 2013. Thybulle’s six thefts tied for eighth on UW’s single-game list. He was three away from the record nine set by Jason Hamilton in 1996. Thybulle also had personal-best tying three blocks and three assists. The 6-5 freshman guard finished with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in 34 minutes.
ARIZONA’S BIG FRONT LINE MADE LIFE MISERABLE FOR UW’S TOP SCORERS — Andrews scored 20 points for the first time in five games, but it would be inaccurate to say his shooting slump is over. The Pac-12 scoring leader converted 5 of 14 on field goals. He was shooting 25.5 percent from the field in the previous four games. On Saturday, Andrews struggled to convert baskets near the rim against Arizona’s big front line. However, he drained three three-pointers. It was the most threes he’s had since Jan. 20 when he had three against Colorado. Meanwhile, the Wildcats did a good job cooling down freshman guard Dejounte Murray, who scored 34 points on 10-for-14 shooting Wednesday. The 6-4 1/2 guard tallied nine points in the first half, but was held to 1- for 5 shooting in the second half and finished with 11. Murray normally does a nice job of getting to the rim, but he had great difficulty converting inside against the Wildcats. In their first meeting, Murray scored just eight points – which tied for his lowest against a Pac-12 team – while converting 3 of 12 shots.
TOUGH ROAD AHEAD FOR HUSKIES — Washington has not lost consecutive games in Pac-12 play. In fact, they’ve lost back-to-back games just once this season (Gonzaga and Texas in November.). The Huskies will be severely tested next week during what coach Lorenzo Romar described as the “toughest road trip” in the conference when they visit Utah on Wednesday and Colorado on Saturday. The teams are 23-2 at home this season. That’s amazing. Utah is 11-1 at Huntsmen Center, its only loss a 77-59 defeat to Oregon on Jan. 14. Meanwhile, Colorado is 12-1 at Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes lost 56-54 at home to Utah on Jan. 4. Since the mountain schools joined the Pac-12 in 2012, Washington has an identical 1-2 record at Utah and Colorado.