After dropping both games in Los Angeles, the Wildcats desperately needed to get back in the win column, and playing at home proved to be the perfect remedy. The win pushes the 'Cats' nation-leading home-winning streak to 48 games.
In the first half, neither team was interested in defending, as Arizona shot 51.6 percent from the field, while Washington shot 51.5 percent. The Wildcats led by a handful of points for most of the half, but Washington did manage to take a 39-36 lead with 2:17 left to go. Arizona responded with four unanswered baskets to re-take a 44-39 lead, however, which was then cut to 44-41 heading into halftime.
In the second half, the Wildcats darted out to a 29-7 run in the first ten minutes, and made what was a seesaw first half turn into a comfortable victory.
Here were the main takeaways from the game:
Ari-Zone-A: As mentioned earlier, the Huskies shot over 50 percent in the first half, and were having no issues generating quality shots even with leading-scorer Andrew Andrews missing some game time after spraining his ankle. The Huskies were attacking Arizona's guards -- especially Gabe York -- and it seemed as if they were taking open three after open three.
It led Sean Miller to switch the team's defense from its usual man-to-man defense to a zone for the last few minutes before halftime. But in the second half it was a different story. Arizona's defense held Washington to a 30.3 field goal percentage, and they didn't need a zone defense to do it. The open looks disappeared, there weren't any miscommunications that resulted in wide-open shooters, and they forced turnovers too.
Return of Ryan: After having arguably his worst game of his Arizona career against USC, Ryan Anderson returned to his usual self in this game. He had 21 points and nine rebounds and he and Kaleb Tarczewski were flat out dominating the size advantage the Wildcats had over the Huskies. Tarczewski had 16 points and 13 rebounds of his own, and Arizona is going to need this type of performance from its front court on a regular basis with leading-scorer Allonzo Trier sidelined for a month.
Tollefsen's shooting: Mark Tollefsen's shooting struggles have been a bit of an enigma this season given his past shooting numbers at the University of San Francisco, but they weren't present in this game. He hit all three of his three-point attempts and finished with 11 points. He started in place of Trier and will have to continue to contribute at a high level for the next month or so.
Parker's Passes: Kadeem Allen has been the best point guard for Arizona this season, but Parker Jackson-Cartwright's floor game in this game was the best by any Arizona player this season. He dropped 11 dimes, and had just one turnover. The offense was smooth and he was frantically looking to push the pace and it resulted in quick, easy baskets for the Wildcats. That was what I was expecting to see from PJC this season, and it hasn't exactly panned out as planned, but hopefully this is a sign of improvement to come. We have to remember that he's only a sophomore.
Simon's Energy: Sean Miller pegged Justin Simon as the guy that'd see his minutes increase after Trier's injury, and while he didn't see a huge increase in minutes -- he played 16 minutes -- he came in and quickly scored two baskets and got a steal. He was a little erratic and overzealous with the basketball at times, which resulted in four turnovers, but that's something you have to live with given the energy he brings off the bench. He finished with nine points and four rebounds, and I'm looking forward to seeing his role continually increase.
The victory pushes the Wildcats' record to 14-3 overall and 2-2 in the Pac-12. They'll look for their second straight win against the Washington State Cougars on Saturday at McKale Center. Tipoff is at 7:30 pm MST.