No. 8 Arizona downs Cougars, sweeps Washington road trip
Seniors Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons led the No. 8 Arizona men’s basketball to a 79-65 victory against Washington State Saturday night at the Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, capturing its first road sweep of the Washington schools since 2006.
Not only did the win break the Wildcats’ struggles in the state of Washington, but it also tied Arizona (19-2, 7-2 Pac-12) for first place in the Pac-12 after Oregon dropped its second straight game with a loss to Cal. Oregon still holds the tie-breaker against the Wildcats, though.
Hill had 18 points in the game, all coming in the first half, and went 6-for-10 from the three-point land. Hill’s final points of the game came in a buzzer-beating heave from his own three-point line, putting the Wildcats up 40-26 heading into the locker room and giving Hill a career-high sixth three-point makes.
Some late scoring by Lyons gave him game-high 20 points on 6-for-13 shooting and his 5-0 run with three minutes left officially put the game away. While his shot was clicking, Lyons struggled with his point guard duties, turning the ball over four times while recording one assist.
Foul troubles by the UA and the first half ejection of senior Kevin Parrom kept Washington State (11-11, 2-8) in striking distance throughout the second half. The Cougars cut the lead to 10 several times, but were never able to break through the double-digit deficit.
Washington State’s Brock Motum, the Pac-12’s third-best scorer coming in, had 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting but was also pressured on the defensive end and fouled out of the game. A collection of Wildcat defenders guarded the versatile Motum throughout the game, including the much shorter Hill.
Freshman Grant Jerrett had four blocks in the game and grabbed five rebounds. Jerrett played 28 minutes, the most of his career, thanks to the foul trouble of the other two freshmen big mens. He also had five points on 2-for-7 shooting.
Things weren’t all good for Arizona in a game it led by double-digits for the entire second half. Parrom hit the Cougars’ DaVonte Lacy in the face after a made three-pointer by Hill with 10:43 remaining in the first half. Parrom was quickly ejected for the infraction.
The absence of the Wildcats’ sixth-man worsened the UA foul predicament as Lyons and center Kaleb Tarczewski had four fouls and forward Brandon Ashley fouled out.
After committing 17 turnovers Thursday night at Washington, the Wildcats took much better control of the ball— Arizona had 13 assists and only nine turnovers. It also shot much sharper Saturday night, hitting 47.4 percent of its shots and 14-for-16 from the free throw line.
The Wildcats’ second-leading scorer Nick Johnson was quiet offensively, scoring six points on 2-of-5 shooting. It was his lowest-scoring game of the season, but he instead concentrated on distributing the ball. Johnson had a team-high five assists and no turnovers.
Washington State went 20-for-49 (40.8 percent) in the game and had 13 turnovers. Arizona narrowly won the rebounding battle against the Cougars, grabbing 28 boards compared to WSU’s 27.