The Washington Huskies and their acclaimed 2-3 zone continue to own the Pac-12.
The Huskies locked down the Arizona Wildcats on their way to a 67-60 win on Thursday in McKale Center to improve to a perfect 10-0 in league play.
It is Washington’s first win in Tucson since January 2012. The Wildcats have now lost four straight for the first time in 10 years, continuing their descent toward the bottom of the Pac-12, as the program faces increased scrutiny after assistant coach Mark Phelps was suspended Wednesday for allegedly committing an NCAA violation.
Arizona (14-9, 5-5) was predictably sloppy against the Pac-12’s No. 1 defense, committing 20 turnovers which Washington turned into 16 points.
Shots weren’t falling for home team, either, as the Huskies held UA to 38 percent shooting.
After a nip-and-tuck first half that featured six lead changes, Washington opened the second half on a 10-4 run, capped by a 3 from David Crisp, to extend its lead to 39-32 with 16 minutes left.
That was UW’s largest cushion of the night until Noah Dickerson, who battled through a sprained ankle, converted an and-one to put Washington up 52-43 with nine minutes left.
Crisp then hit a pull-up jumper to make it an 11-point lead with 7:45 left and Matisse Thybulle buried a triple from the corner to make it 59-47 with 6:04 left.
Arizona cut the deficit to seven with 5:28 to play, but then committed a backcourt violation before Jaylen Nowell swished an off-balance jumper and Dickerson scored inside to push UW’s lead back to double figures with 3:40 left.
All five of the aforementioned Huskies scored in double figures. Thybulle, as usual, did his best work defensively, tallying five blocks and five steals.
Playing without the injured Brandon Williams, the Wildcats leaned on point guard Justin Coleman, who played 37 minutes and finished with 16 points, four assists, and five rebounds.
Chase Jeter added 12 points, but picked up his third foul less than a minute into the second half and fouled out with two minutes left.
Arizona made it a point to force the ball inside against Washington’s zone and Jeter accounted for UA’s first eight points until Dylan Smith banked in a corner 3 then swished a 30-footer as the shot clock hit triple zeros to tie it at 14 with 9:02 left in the first half.
That remained the score until Coleman completed an and-one to give the Wildcats a three-point lead with 6:13 left, but it was immediately matched by a 3 from Crisp.
Coleman later went coast-to-coast to tie it at 22 with 2:52 left and Ryan Luther converted underneath on a no-look pass from Smith to give the Wildcats two-point lead.
The lead was exchanged a few more times before Nowell banked in a runner to put UW ahead 29-28 at the half.
It was a sloppy 20 minutes of basketball with the teams combining for 20 turnovers to just 21 made field goals.
But the Huskies shot 58 percent in the second half to cruise to their 12th straight win.