PULLMAN, Wash. - After a 5:45 a.m. wake-up call that followed a frustrating loss just eight hours earlier at Washington, Nic Wise and Jamelle Horne clutched full-size pillows as they ambled through the Spokane Airport.
But Arizona freshman Derrick Williams strolled by Friday morning as if nothing had happened, with his eyes wide open and his usual easygoing smile.
UA coach Sean Miller had called this one the night before, after Williams played just eight minutes in the Wildcats' 81-75 loss to the Huskies because of foul trouble.
"The good news is he should be pretty fresh for our next game," Miller said.
Actually, by the time the Wildcats put together a spirited 90-minute workout Friday evening at WSU's Friel Court, the rest of them were awake, too.
That's the usual M.O. for a team that has not lost on a Saturday or Sunday during the Pac-10 season so far. The Wildcats know how to handle Fridays and they know how to get around, pillow or no pillow.
"The guys really handle travel well, from the time our season has started," Miller said. "I was really proud of our guys as far back as Maui, asking such a young team to play three games in three days and we competed really hard in all three.
"We've learned some lessons along the way but in the Pac-10 we've handled these two-game road swings very well on the second game.
"A lot of it's had to do with we learned our lesson the first game and moved on."
The Wildcats have also learned to share the load more as the season has gone on, helping offset any fatigue or poor performances by the starters.
On Thursday, the reserves outscored the starters for the first time this season, 40-35.
Here's a recap of five reserves after Thursday:
• Reserve center Alex Jacobson emerged from his deep freeze, brought on by back spasms last month and the fact that Miller simply plays Williams as much as possible.
Jacobson's 15 minutes at Washington was a season high. He had five rebounds and two points, with one block, one steal and one turnover.
He shrugged off any notion of rust, despite having played only two total minutes since Dec. 28.
"They told me to be ready so I was ready," Jacobson said.
Miller said Jacobson is still behind Kyryl Natyazhko in the rotation but that he will get more minutes.
"I really thought after last night, he deserves to play every game," Miller said. "He makes our team deeper. One thing about Tree is he's a smart guy and he can make shots."
• Guard MoMo Jones led the Wildcats with 14 points, showing his usual urgency when things are getting bleak.
He tried to score three straight times early in the half Thursday when Williams sat on the bench in foul trouble, succeeding twice and being blocked on a third try. His efforts pulled UA from a 48-41 deficit to 48-45.
"When I came here I told everybody that I'm from New York and that's just what I do," Jones said. "I come with that tough hard-nosed grind-it-out mentality. That's what I had tonight and that's what I've had for the past five or six games, but it's not going to go away. That's what everybody's going to see from here on out."
• Wing Brendon Lavender has now scored 19 points total between the Jan. 28 game against Stanford and Thursday's game at Washington. But he said it isn't necessarily that he's got his confidence back.
"My confidence is not the issue at all," Lavender said. "It's just knowing my role and trying to execute it. I do what I can to help us win. My confidence is good. Whenever I'm open I feel like I can make any shot.
"I felt like that was a pretty crucial point in the game where we needed those shots. I just wanted to take them and let it go in."
Miller said he was glad to hear of Lavender's remarks.
"I will tell you (confidence) is probably an obstacle he's overcome," Miller said.
• Center Kyryl Natyazhko tied his season-high of seven rebounds Thursday that he established… in the very first game of the season, when he had seven points and seven boards against NAU as a starter before Williams emerged. He was 0 for 4 from the field, however.
• Freshman forward Solomon Hill scored in double figures for the first time since Dec. 28, with 12 points and seven rebounds.
"If you add all that up, they really gave us a chance," Miller said of his reserves. "There really hasn't been a game other than maybe San Diego State (a 63-46 UA loss on Dec. 12) where all five of our starters didn't have a good night. It's a great testament to our team that we still are right there to win.
"Hopefully they can continue to develop as our year goes on."
On StarNet: Follow the Cats on Bruce Pascoe's blog at go.azstarnet.com/Pascoe
The UA men's basketball program placed itself on probation as Lute Olson's missteps could cost Cats a scholarship and more. Page A1
• What: Arizona at Washington St.
• When: 6:30 p.m.
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM