Arizona swats Huskies out of McKale

Forty minutes or not, ESPN might as well have cut to the final minute.

Yet, it was only an instant that defined No. 12 Arizona's 87-86 nationally-televised victory over the Washington Huskies Saturday. Forward Derrick Williams sent a floating inside shot from UW's Darnell Gant into the McKale Center's whited-out crowd, only 0.2 near-worthless seconds remaining for the Huskies to steal a victory.

Of course, there's an argument to be made about whether or not that block was the play of the game.

 

 

Yes, what Williams eats for breakfast or tweets on Twitter will be under the watchful eye of Wildcat fans, but the prettiest play doesn't necessarily make it the biggest.

Wasn't Solomon Hill's right-place, right-time basket with under 30 seconds to play important? That gave UA the lead.

Maybe even bigger was Williams' defense that gave Arizona the ball (well, at least before Hill threw it off Momo Jones' foot) with three seconds left. It was his discipline that caught Husky Matt Bryan-Amaning off-guard, moving his pivot foot one too many times after Williams refused to leave his feet and go for the block.

And Williams didn't let the Huskies' size get in his head, going for 26 points and 13 rebounds. He did allow Bryan-Amaning to have a packed box score of 24 points, nine boards and six blocks, but it was Williams who had the last laugh, the highlight-reel block for the win.

Whatever the case may be, the Wildcats made the plays that Washington had made in Seattle, Wash., a month ago.

They called it their turning point after all, and they haven't lost since.

Effort wasn't an issue this time -- Arizona players said they folded during the final six minutes at Washington's Hec Edmundson Pavilion -- as UA made up for a flurry of second-half turnovers with effort. For the most part, each Arizona pass intercepted and pushed the other way by the Huskies was run down by guys like Kevin Parrom, foiling at least three lay-ups completely and giving hard fouls on two more to allow, well, no easy buckets.

Now look where the Wildcats stand.

Head coach Sean Miller says no game is more important than another, but by witnessing the crowd today, that's not necessarily the belief around Tucson.

An eight-game winning streak will come under fire this next week however; remember people, UCLA is nearly as hot as Arizona, assuming they take care of business against Cal tomorrow. That'd put them on a seven-game streak of their own.

But for now, the Wildcats can rest assured about two things: They've developed a swagger built from Miller's DNA. That swagger is based around defense, teamwork and an attitude.

Before looking to the postseason, as the Wildcats refuse they'll do, a significant trip to Los Angeles is on deck, an opportunity to woo the selection committee into a Top 5 seed.

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