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Dylan Smith's 19 points not enough to overcome large deficit

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Amy Bailey and Amy Bailey | The Daily Wildcat Wildcat waving to the photographers sitting on the sidelines.

Once again, the Arizona men's basketball team shot under 40% at home and couldn't overcome a 17 point lead as they fell to Washington 69-63 on Saturday night in McKale Center. 

In the first half, Arizona only made five field goals and finished with 20% shooting. However, they were only down 15, thanks to 12 free throws in the first half alone.

Chase Jeter and Max Hazzard both didn’t play again, and after Dylan Smith took an elbow to the face from Isaiah Stewart early in the half, an already depleted bench for Arizona got even shorter. 

For the Huskies, Stewart couldn’t be stopped in the half and had eight points on 4-5 shooting at the break. The ’Cats couldn’t find anyone to stop Stewart and constantly had to double-team him every time he got the ball.

“He’s such a good player, it’s hard to believe he’s a freshman," head coach Sean Miller said. "The thing about him is things haven’t always going well for his team. And for a guy like him, as big of a reputation as he had in high school, as good of a player he’s been at UW, it’s just so easy for him to just quietly go away. But he’s like a lion, he’s a problem. He’s very, very good physically."

Senior night in McKale always has some special moments and Smith opening the second half 3-3 from three felt like another one of these. While Washington kept scoring on the other end, Smith kept Arizona in it with 3-pointer after 3-pointer. 

Christian Koloko finally was the answer that Miller was looking for to guard Stewart. Stewart struggled against Koloko, but with 4:49 on the clock, Koloko was whistled for his fourth foul on a rebound. He then continued to the talk to the referee about the foul and was given a technical foul for his chatter, ending his night early.

“I mean [the score is] 55-51, Christian’s maybe one of the nicest kids that I’ve ever met," Miller said. "We’re actually on him to communicate more. It’s just hard for me to believe."

Smith would go on to make a couple more threes, but the lack of free throw shooting and turnovers would eventually do it for Arizona. 

They finished with 18 turnovers and shot 35% from the field. It was a bittersweet ending on senior night, but the Wildcats will have their chance for revenge on Wednesday when they face Washington in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.

"We need to be more physical on Wednesday," player Stone Gettings said. "And we're lucky we get another chance."


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