The University of Arizona men’s basketball team pulled out a win against the University of Washington by a score of 70-67.
Azuolas Tubelis filled up the stat sheet, leading all scorers with 18 points, while also adding 10 rebounds and four assists. After a slow first half, Oumar Ballo helped seal the victory, adding nine points and converting all three of his free-throw attempts late in the game.
The Wildcats were tested all 40 minutes, never extending their lead to double-digits. Washington head coach Mike Hopkins crafted and executed a beautiful game plan that Arizona fans witnessed as their Wildcats trailed by as many as 14 points.
The Huskies controlled the tempo early on, utilizing a 2-3 zone on the defensive end, attempting to slow down the Wildcats.
“Washington’s zone has been really effective for a lot of years. I have played against it a bunch of times,” Lloyd said. “I’ve had days where we had success and days where we couldn’t do anything, like today, that’s how it goes. Washington had a heck of a plan, and we struggled.”
Entering tonight’s game, Arizona averaged 77.3 possessions per game, ranking in the top 10 nationwide. However, tonight, Arizona fell short of that number having 71 possessions as the Huskies defensive tactics worked, limiting Arizona’s production in the half-court.
Freshman Kylan Boswell entered both halves around the 14-minute mark and was phenomenal. In the first half, Boswell’s contributions helped spark a 15-0 Wildcat run, erasing the Huskies 14-point lead. He finished with nine points, six rebounds, and six assists.
“To see him come out and hit some shots today was big for him and big for us,” Lloyd said. “He’s really growing on the defensive end. I’m looking forward to him being a solid contributor down the stretch.”
Boswell led the Wildcats with a plus/minus differential of 16 points while on the floor and capitalized on a big-time shot down the stretch, extending Arizona’s lead to seven points.
Arizona held Washington to a total of 29 points in the second half. At halftime, Lloyd emphasized tightening up the defense.
“We all came together and picked up our intensity,” Boswell said. “The main focus was to give more effort. From that point on, it was smooth sailing.”
The Huskies witnessed shooting woes in the last 20 minutes, shooting 34% from the field and 21% from the perimeter while only getting to the free-throw line five times. The Wildcats ability to string together stops down the stretch allowed them to squeeze out the victory.
Arizona will be back in McKale Center Saturday at 3 P.M to face the Washington State Cougars.
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