Lavender's hot shooting leads Arizona to 76-72 victory over Wazzou

For all the great things that Arizona bench monster Angelo Chol has brought the injury-depleted Arizona Wildcats of late, Brendon Lavender has quietly snuck under the hype radar.

He couldn't do that against the Washington State Cougars. In Arizona's 76-72 win in Pullman, Wash., on Thursday, the reserve guard led the Wildcats with 17 points -- 15 on three-point shots -- and hit two clutch free throws to close out a tough road victory.

After a rough start that found them down 11-3, the Wildcats brought the game back to being even and went back-and-forth with the Cougars for most of the game. They led 40-39 at halftime thanks to hot shooting that broke down the WSU zone defense, and they played good enough defense of their own to rebound and get into the open floor.

By the end of the game, the Wildcats had hit 9-of-19 three-point shots for a solid 47.4 percent, hit 52 percent from the field, and made enough clutch free throws to keep a desperate WSU squad from mounting a last-minute comeback.

And with scoring from across the board for Arizona, the Wildcats were able to overcome 28 points from WSU big man Brock Motum, who hit everything from spin moves in the post, to hook shots over shorter defenders, to three-pointers when the defense decided not to body him up.

Six missed free throws in crunch time, however, gave UA just enough breathing room to pull off the victory.

Down the stretch, it was execution that won it for Arizona.

Out of a timeout with 91 seconds left, Solomon Hill, who had 11 points, five assists and five rebounds, found Jesse Perry slashing down the middle of the lane off a pick and roll for two points. That put Arizona on top 69-67 and after WSU guard Reggie Moore tied it with two free throws, it was then Josiah Turner finding Perry with a left-handed sling on a similar play for an And 1 situation.

Motum drew a foul on Fogg behind the three-point line with under a minute to play, but wasn't able to take advantage of his free points to bring the Cougars back.

Fogg finished with 16 points, 10 boards and three assists, and Perry's two huge buckets helped him hit 13 points in an all-around solid showing for the Wildcats. Chol added eight points and four boards as Sean Miller only went eight deep -- Kyryl Natyazhko, though, only saw two minutes.

Now at 19-8 and 10-4 in the Pac-12 Conference, Arizona is still alive.

And on Thursday night, much of that was thanks to Lavender, whose 5-for-7 three-point accuracy continued perhaps one of the best three-point shooting seasons for an Arizona player outside Steve Kerr.

Editor's note: The ESPN and official box score appears to be down for the time being. Numbers and stats are partially generated from what is showing up and a little bit of memory-digging on my part.

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