Wroten, Washington hold off Arizona 69-67Posted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- With a once-big lead down to two and the crowd louder than any he had heard before, Washington freshman Tony Wroten found a way to shut everything out and carry his team to what could be a season-defining victory.
He had already done it at Madison Square Garden, so why not Arizona's McKale Center as well?
Wroten added to his growing list of game-changing plays, swooping in to swat Josiah Turner's layup at the buzzer to preserve Washington's 69-67 win over Arizona Saturday night.
"He's been that way all year," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "At Madison Square Garden against Duke, he took over. He just has no problem taking a game and putting it on his shoulders."
Quiet due, in part, to foul trouble in the first half, Wroten took over at times in the second, scoring 12 of his 17 points. Terrence Ross took a turn for a while, scoring 13 of his 16 points in the half.
When Arizona rallied to tie it in the closing seconds, Wroten finished the Wildcats off.
Leading by 11 with just under 6 minutes left, Washington (14-7, 7-2 Pac-12) seemed to be in control before Arizona rallied to tie the game at 67-all on Solomon Hill's 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left.
The Huskies got the ball in quickly to C.J. Wilcox, who immediately drew a blocking foul on Turner. Wilcox, in his second game back from a hip injury, calmly hit both free throws to give him 15 points and put the Huskies up two.
Arizona inbounded the ball to Turner after Wilcox's second free throw, and he appeared to have an open lane for the tying basket, the raucous crowd rising in anticipation.
Wroten didn't let him get there.
Charging from the top of the key, he lined up Turner's layup and leaped to the right side of the lane. Blocking out the crowd noise and any thought of committing a foul, Wroten flew through the air and swatted Turner's shot off the backboard a split second before the buzzer, giving the Huskies a desert sweep after they beat Arizona State on Thursday.
"I was kind of shocked how the game ended," Wroten said.
So were the Wildcats.
Arizona (14-8, 5-4) was sloppy with the ball, committing 15 turnovers, and couldn't keep Washington off the glass, giving up 18 offensive rebounds that led to 17 second-chance points.
The Wildcats clawed their way back behind Hill, who scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half, but they came up just short when Wroten swatted away Turner's shot.
Hill had 11 rebounds, and Jesse Perry added 13 points and 12 rebounds for Arizona.
"Washington's individual players made plays, rebounded and forced turnovers in order to get the win," Arizona coach Sean Miller said.
Wildcats guard/forward Kevin Parrom scored seven points before suffering a season-ending broken right foot in the first half. He will require surgery, a team spokesman indicated.
Neither team was ranked -- no Pac-12 team has been for a month -- but this matchup had the potential to be one of the most entertaining games of the conference season.
Washington had been on a roll after an up-and-down nonconference schedule, winning five of its previous six games. The Huskies have one of the nation's top scoring teams, and the combination of Wroten and Ross are one of the best 1-2 punches anywhere.
Wroten helped Washington eke past scrappy Arizona State, scoring 22 points and on a pair of key three-point plays late in the 60-54 win.
Arizona is loaded with talented, interchangeable parts, with a core group of players who came within a game of reaching the Final Four last season and four gifted freshmen.
The Wildcats have been on an inconsistency carousel all season, though, playing well one game, so-so the next. They had it going right the last time out, dropping in 15 3-pointers to roll over Washington State 85-61 in one of their most dominating performances of the season.
These teams played two memorable games last season, too.
The last time at McKale Center, Arizona All-American Derrick Williams leapt to block a shot by Darnell Grant at the buzzer to preserve an 87-86 win. The Huskies got a little revenge at the Pac-10 tournament, where former Huskies star Isaiah Thomas hit a step-back jumper at the buzzer to send the Huskies to a 77-75 overtime win.
With that backdrop, the McKale Center was as juiced as it has been all season. Everyone in the mosh pit-like student section peeled off red shirts just before tipoff to join in creating a "whiteout."
The game didn't quite live up to the billing out of the gate.
It was entertaining, sure, but also sloppy, filled with forced shots, a 5-minute scoring drought by Washington and 18 combined turnovers, many on careless plays.
"The one thing that hurt us the most was turnovers," Miller said. "When you're playing with three guards and two forwards, you really can't afford to turn the ball over.
Despite their 10 turnovers -- one more than they had the entire game against Washington State -- the Wildcats led 32-29 at halftime, thanks to a soaring rebound slam by Hill at the buzzer.
It wasn't a whole lot better once the second half started.
Arizona had three turnovers and a couple of forced shots in the first 3 minutes, and Washington came out clanging, including a missed dunk on a breakaway by Wroten.
He quickly shook off that gaffe, though, and started to take over, scoring eight points to help the Huskies to a five-point lead. Wroten followed with a how'd-he-do-that 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer, spinning around after scooping up a loose ball for a 30-footer that made it 53-44.
Arizona rallied late, but Wroten was there again, flying through the air to swat away the Wildcats' last chance -- just like Williams did to the Huskies last year.
"He didn't see me coming, and I got the block," Wroten said. "(It was) breathtaking."
By now, the Huskies are used to it from their mature-beyond-his-years freshman.