Arizona 85, WSU 61: Threes freeze Cougars

Success behind arc allows Cats to quickly demolish Wash. St.
2012-01-27T00:01:00Z 2014-01-24T16:00:10Z Arizona 85, WSU 61: Threes freeze CougarsBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 27, 2012 12:01 am  • 

The Arizona Wildcats may have hit only 3 of 20 three-pointers at Colorado on Saturday, but Solomon Hill wouldn't let them get shy.

"You gotta keep shooting," Hill said. "Shooting is confidence. That's all I can say."

So the Wildcats did exactly that Thursday at McKale Center and this time, in an 85-61 win over Washington State, they went in.

With improved ballhandling setting up good shots, the Wildcats hit a season-high 15 threes on 26 attempts, making a full five times the number of long-range shots they did against the Buffaloes in a 64-63 loss.

As much as the shooting was a team redemption for the Wildcats, there was also some individual healing done by UA guard Kyle Fogg.

Fogg, who had 18 of his game-high 20 points in the first half, went 4 of 6 from beyond the arc after a rough outing at Colorado. Fogg made just 2 of 7 three-pointers at Colorado and was 3 for 12 from the field overall.

"Definitely, for me and my teammates, it felt better," Fogg said. At Colorado, "I didn't play as well as I could have and I really cost my team the win."

But the game wasn't just about good shooting by the Wildcats. In fact, it couldn't be, the way UA coach Sean Miller said it, pointing to UA's 50 percent free-throw shooting.

"This is a very inconsistent shooting team," Miller said. "We were also 10 for 20 from the foul line, which we'd be talking about if the game were close."

Instead, Miller may have been more pleased that the Wildcats put up another standout defensive effort, holding WSU to just 34.6 percent shooting and just 4 of 21 three-pointers.

There were also the facts that UA out-rebounded the Cougars 37-32 and had just nine turnovers - with just two of them coming over the first 25 minutes, before the game turned into a blowout.

And, the Wildcats also tied their season-high in assists with 23, dishing assists for all but seven of their baskets.

"We moved the ball as well as we have all season and just a short time ago I thought I was very clear that our team wouldn't become better if we didn't take care of the ball," Miller said. "We had nine turnovers but it was more like six or seven because we had several late in the game. That's the first step to our becoming a better team."

The win moved Arizona to 14-7 overall and 5-3 in the Pac-12. The Wildcats, who will host Washington in the second annual "White Out" game Saturday, are now 10-2 at McKale Center this season.

Washington State dropped to 11-9 and 3-5.

The Wildcats built a 42-27 halftime lead by making 7 of 12 three-pointers and coasted through the second half. They led by 28 points after Brendon Lavender hit three-pointers on successive possessions, the last making it 79-51 with 4:22 to go.

Lavender finished with 14 points while making 4 of 5 three-pointers.

The game was marred somewhat when WSU's Faisal Aden suffered a left knee sprain in the first half and by four technical fouls, two of which were assessed to UA guard Josiah Turner and resulted in his immediate ejection with 10:06 to go.

Turner and WSU's Brock Motum were first called for off-setting technical fouls for arguing with each other and then, on a subsequent possession, Turner was called for a second technical when he pushed Motum hard.

The second technical earned Turner an ejection and he became the third Wildcat to be tossed in the past five games.

UA center Kyryl Natyazhko was thrown out against Oregon State for leaving the bench during a tussle with the Beavers and Solomon Hill was ejected for a second-level flagrant foul at Utah last week when he elbowed the Utes' Cedric Martin in the back of the head.

The other technical foul was called on WSU coach Ken Bone in the first half, when Bone appeared to be protesting a call against the Cougars' DeVonte Lacy.

Hill said Turner's foul was similar to his in that Turner was retaliating for earlier actions.

"That's what I tell Josiah - nobody sees what they do first," Hill said.

Miller declined to comment in detail, but indicated he is having trouble getting his players to skirt the fine line between being physical and committing technical fouls.

"If you want to point any blame, point the blame at me," he said. "I want to do a better job of being physical."

Up next

• What: Washington at Arizona

• When: 5 p.m. Saturday

• TV; radio: ESPN; 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)

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