No. 5 Arizona outlasts Washington to extend home streak

Azuolas Tubelis had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 5 Arizona recovered from shaky starts in both halves to continue his home-winning streak with a 70-67 win over UW.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona has been an offensive juggernaut in two seasons under coach Tommy Lloyd while posting one of the nation’s longest winning streaks at home.

On a night when the offense faltered, the Wildcats had to rely on their defense to keep them going.

Azuolas Tubelis had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 5 Arizona bounced back from shaky starts in both halves to extend its home winning streak to 28 with a 70-67 win over Washington on Thursday night.

“We win games on defense and that’s what you have to do,” Lloyd said.

The Wildcats (14-1, 3-1 Pac-12) went into their first game of the new year finishing in the top five nationally in numerous offensive categories.

They found it much more difficult against Washington’s zone, falling into an early 14-point hole while shooting 36% overall.

Arizona rallied behind its defense and unleashed a 15-0 run and another stretch of 13 straight points in the first half after missing its first 10 shots of the second. The Wildcats went up 68-61 by 53 seconds, holding off the Huskies to extend the nation’s third-longest winning streak.

Arizona’s Omar Ballo had 15 points after dealing with an illness earlier in the week. Pelle Larsson had 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and played great ball defense.

“We’re used to playing physical games,” Larsson said.

They still had a hard time shaking off the huskies.

Washington (9-7, 1-4) overcame a late 4 1/2 minute scoring drought to draw within 70-67 with 18 seconds left and got the ball back after Tubelis missed a free throw. The Huskies struggled to get a good impression in the closing seconds and a 3-point shot by Keion Brooks Jr. fell well short.

Brooks and Cole Bajema each had 16 points for Washington.

“We fought great, showed great resilience,” said Washington coach Mike Hopkins. “We held the lead for 28 minutes here but you miss a foul shot, you miss and open the shot, that’s how these games are won.”

The Wildcats pulled off an away win over rival Arizona State in their last game and had all sorts of trouble with Washington’s 2-3 zone on their return to the McKale Center.

Arizona struggled to find seams in the middle of the zone and struggled for open shots on numerous halffield possessions while falling into a 38-24 hole.

Tubelis was the only player to have consistent offensive runs against Washington’s defense, scoring three goals in transition before Washington could build their defense.

The Lithuanian big man brought the McKale Center fans out of their doldrums and his team with a dunk with just over five minutes left. An energized Arizona then reeled off 15 straight points to take a 39-38 lead on Kerr Kriisa’s 3-pointer corner.

Washington led 42-41 at halftime after hitting 6-of-13-from-3 and went up seven after holding Arizona to two free throws in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the second half.

“I didn’t make it up that way,” Lloyd said.

The Wildcats rallied again. Arizona went up to 56-50 on a 13-0 run but allowed Washington to hang around before clinching another home win.

“They just have so many guns,” Hopkins said. “They are talented in every position.

BIG PICTURE

Washington couldn’t have asked for a much better start at both ends of the floor as they built the 14-point lead. The Huskies left Arizona with big runs, going 3 for 14 of 3 in the second half to lose their sixth straight win to the Wildcats.

Arizona had its worst offensive game of the year but still found a way to win its 26th straight home game under coach Tommy Lloyd — the longest to start a career in Pac-12 history.

NEXT

Washington: plays in the state of Arizona on Sunday.

Arizona: hosts Washington State Saturday.

https://www.king5.com/article/sports/ncaa/ncaab/huskies/no-5-arizona-outlasts-washington-to-extend-home-streak/281-3704c15e-66d5-44fe-9066-72584f1a2a24 No. 5 Arizona outlasts Washington to extend home streak

Emma Bowman

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