Arizona was chasing Washington in the Pac-10 race when the teams
met in Seattle last month. With a season-best seven straight
victories since that defeat, the 12th-ranked Wildcats are now the
team to beat.
Arizona looks to extend its longest single-season Pac-10 winning
streak since 2002-03 on Saturday when it faces a Huskies team
hoping a victory in its final league road game can propel it to the
Looking to snap a three-game skid visiting Washington (18-7,
10-4), the Wildcats (22-14, 11-2) fell 1 1/2 games back with an
85-68 loss Jan. 20.
Arizona had no answer for junior guard Isaiah Thomas, who had 22
points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
“If he’s not one of the top four or five point guards in the
country, then I’m going to tell you I want to invite these guys who
vote to come and watch film,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said after
his team’s three-game winning streak ended.
Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar has seen plenty of Derrick Williams’
highlights. The Arizona sophomore, the league’s second-highest
scorer at 19.5 points per game, had 22 and 11 rebounds in last
month’s loss at Washington, but he struggled against the Huskies’
zone defense as the Wildcats were outscored 20-9 in the final
Williams hit all 12 of his free throws and had 26 points and
eight rebounds as Arizona won its seventh in a row on Thursday,
79-70 over Washington State. It was one of his better efforts since
getting his pinky bent backward in a matchup versus UCLA on Jan.
“I think big picture-wise, he’s going to be returning back to
form,” Miller said.
Back on track following the Washington loss, the Wildcats have
matched the team’s longest winning streak since a 12-game stretch
from Nov. 15, 2006-Jan. 4, 2007. They own a one-game lead over the
Bruins and are trying to win eight straight in league play for the
first time since the final 10 games of 2002-03.
Arizona, which has won 16 straight at the McKale Center, also
seeks its fifth straight home win over the Huskies.
“Washington’s record and who they are both in the conference and
nationally mean that they are going to be the best team we face at
home this season,” Miller said.
The Huskies have lost 25 of 31 at Arizona, but they enter this
matchup with plenty of confidence following Thursday’s 79-62
victory at Arizona State.
The team lost junior guard Scott Surges, the Pac-10’s best
3-point shooter, to a sprained MCL in the first half, but senior
forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning posted his eighth double-double of
the season with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman guard C.J.
Wilcox hit four 3s and scored 16 off the bench as Washington
snapped a three-game road losing streak.
The Huskies have won three in a row following a three-game
“We’ve learned these last few weeks to keep our composure when
things aren’t going our way,” Bryan-Amaning told the school’s
The Huskies were swept in their Arizona swing last season, but
if Romar’s team can sweep this “make or break” trip, Washington
would be in a good position to win the Pac-10 with home games
against Washington State, UCLA and USC.
“I would say this is a big game,” Romar said. “There’s a lot at
Arizona leads the all-time series 43-25.