Thanks to its top three scorers, Arizona's offense finally found its way in a 70-52 win over Washington on Wednesday night at McKale Center.
Solomon Hill had 19 points and six rebounds, while Mark Lyons scored 14 points and Nick Johnson had 12 points with five assists in Arizona's easiest win since a 74-50 win over USC at McKale Center on Jan. 26.
The Wildcats shot 47.1 percent from the field while holding Washington to 30.8 percent shooting. The Huskies made just 1 of 11 three-pointers.
"We did a great job guarding them from three," Hill said. "It was a great feeling."
Arizona trailed 11-8 early before Lyons scored 10 points over a 90-second span in the first half, while Hill scored most of his 16 points late in the half. Early in the second, Nick Johnson heated up offensively to put the game away.
Meanwhile, UA freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski collected 10 points and seven rebounds against Washington big man Aziz N'Diaye, who had two points on 1-for-6 shooting to go with eight rebounds. N'Diaye was also whistled for a technical foul in the first half.
The win moved Arizona to 22-4 overall and 10-4 in the Pac-12, where the Wildcats are a half-game behind first-place Oregon (10-3). Washington dropped to 14-13 and 6-8.
The Wildcats had lost two of their previous three games, and looked shaky in the win - a 68-64 victory at Utah on Sunday. But Washington has struggled even more, losing seven of its last nine before Wednesday.
Johnson all but put the Huskies out of their misery, scoring nine points over a four-minute span that put UA ahead 49-29 with 13:42 left. After having missed his five field goals in the first half, Johnson warmed up with two easy baskets inside before making two more layups and a three-pointer during his streak.
Johnson said it helped the way Lyons pushed him.
"Cheeks (Lyons) was telling me, 'What do I need to do to get you in there?'" Johnson said. "He got on the fast break and dished to me and I got some easy buckets."
Johnson's scoring helped Arizona begin the second half on an 11-4 run to take a 44-29 lead at the first media timeout (15:57). They held the Huskies to 2 of 8 shooting and forced two turnovers.
While Johnson missed all the shots he took in the first half, it was his backcourt mate, Lyons, who took over first. Lyons scored 10 quick points in the middle of the first half to wake up a stagnant Arizona offense and help the Wildcats take a 33-25 halftime lead.
"We started off a little slow so it was definitely good for us," Johnson said of Lyons. "He's always so confident. It was good."
Lyons finished with 12 points on 3-for-6 shooting while teammate Solomon Hill led all scorers in the first half with 14 points on 4-for-7 shooting.
Lyons' scoring spree put UA up 18-16 with 6:37 left when he hit his second three-pointer. Then, it was Hill's turn. He scored 10 points over the final six minutes of the half while Arizona built its lead to eight points, then added another quick bucket in the second half when Arizona outscored UW 6-1 in the first 1:46 after halftime.
Two of Hill's 19 points came on technical free throws, after N'Diaye was whistled for a technical after shoving UA's Kevin Parrom.
The two seniors helped UA overcome scoreless first-half efforts from Johnson, Parrom (0 for 2 from the field) and Grant Jerrett (0 for 2).
Early in the game, both teams played tough defense, much as they did in UA's 57-53 win in Seattle on Jan. 31. Arizona hit 35.7 percent from the field in the first half while Washington was at 35.5 percent.
Arizona outrebounded the Huskies 23-17 before halftime, however.
The Wildcats' offense struggled early against Washington's defense, which forced them to go deep into the shot clock several times. UA managed just eight points through nearly the first 12 minutes before Lyons began his 10-point spurt.
Arizona trailed 7-5 at the first media timeout (14:59). The Wildcats made just two of their first seven shots and turned the ball over twice to that point, while being forced to go deep into the shot clock several times.
"They're a good defensive team," Johnson said. "And we were a little tentative."
UA tried entering lightly used Gabe York ahead of Jordin Mayes off the bench at guard, but York did not take a shot in four minutes. Mayes did not play at all in the first half but did get in during the second half.
York finished with three points on 1 of 2 three-point shooting.
On StarNet: See more photos from the game at azstarnet.com/gallery
• Who: Washington State at No. 12 Arizona
• When: 1 p.m. Saturday
• TV: FSAZ Plus
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)