By Monty Phan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
It was the defending Pacific 10 Conference champions and 12th-ranked team in the nation playing at home against a school last in the conference and winless on the road.
Who do you think would win?
You're right. The UA men's basketball team handily defeated the Washington Huskies 91-65 Saturday, upping its Pac-10 record to 7-2 and moving into a first-place tie with UCLA. Washington dropped its fourth in a row and suffered its eighth consecutive road loss.
"I guess the thing that was obvious today was that you have to shoot when you get shots," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "I thought Washington had a lot of good looks early that they weren't able to convert and then we did a pretty good job of finishing plays at our end of the court."
Because of this, Arizona led 42-23 at halftime.
"(In the first half) our post men played great defense and rebounded," UA junior forward Corey Williams said. "The second half we ... we just didn't stay intense."
After a Reggie Geary-to-Ray Owes feed to start the second half, Washington scored the next seven points, closing to within 14 on a Joe McClain three-pointer. Four Owes' points Ä he finished with 20 and seven rebounds Ä and a basket by Ben Davis kept the Huskies mildly at bay, but they were able to cut the lead to 11 on a Sanford layup at 13:24. But Arizona scored 11 points in a row and 33 of the next 46 to go up by 31 with less than five minutes left in the game.
"We played real well," said Damon Stoudamire, who finished with game-high totals of 24 points and eight assists. "The beginning of the second half, they cut our lead to single digits (it was 11), and I got tired of looking at everything so I started calling my own calls. Then I started making something happen out there and I hit a couple threes, got the bucket, everything started opening up."
Arizona continued its hot shooting, making 52.2 percent (35-67) of its shots, including 8 of 15 from three-point land. The defense stepped up as well, forcing 21 Husky turnovers (to the Wildcats' 14) while coming up with eight steals (Geary had three) and four blocks (sophomore Jarvis Kelley had two).
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