At the start of the game, true freshman forward Isaiah Stewart hit a baseline jumper from about 10-feet out that settled the Huskies into the game immediately.
Over the course of the next 5:00 minutes, both teams would trade baskets and try to feel their way into the game and establish their identity.
They had just played each other less than 5 days earlier, which can always be tough for both teams for a variety of different reasons.
During a timeout at the 15:09 mark, the Wildcats had the early lead at 12-9, as they were finding easy jump shots in the Washington zone defense.
Stewart got into a nice rhythm early, as he was very physical inside and also hit just his fifth three-pointer of the season early on.
He was solely responsible for the Huskies first 9 out of 11 points, and was looking for somebody else to “get hot” with him and lead the way.
Arizona had the hot hand early in the game, as they were hitting shots from all over the field and the Huskies needed to make an adjustment.
The Huskies shot themselves in the foot early with the amount of turnovers they had. They went on a 5:00 minute stretch of 5 turnovers.
At the 7:59 mark, the Huskies were trailing the Wildcats 23-18, as Arizona was shooting 53% from the field and were the more settled team.
True freshman forward Jaden McDaniels was still scoreless in the game at this point, as clearly the Wildcats plan was to shut him down early.
Washington would go on a 6-0 run over the next 1:15 minute span, which saw Stewart go unstoppable and completely dominated.
Arizona would answer back with a 5-0 run of their own to regain the lead and steal any momentum away from the Huskies.
During a timeout at the 3:48 mark, the Wildcats were leading 31-26, as turnovers were killing the Huskies, letting Arizona capitalize.
The Huskies needed a second scorer to supplement Stewart’s brilliant performance, but nobody stepped up.
They would get help but it would come from Arizona, as they went scoreless from the field for a 6:00 minute stretch, while the Huskies climbed back into the game.
Towards the end of the half, McDaniels picked up his 3rd foul, which was a huge blow to the Huskies and their efforts going forward.
At halftime, Arizona was ahead 35-30, after coming out to a fast start and finding a way to capitalize on Washington’s careless turnovers.
It was clearly evident that the Huskies were in desperate need for a second scorer to emerge and help out Stewart on the scoreboard.
Isaiah Stewart led the way with 18 points and 3 rebounds for the Huskies, and was definitely the most dominant player on the entire floor.
Surely Washington head coach Mike Hopkins was pleased with the effort, but was imploring his team to take care of the ball a lot better.
At the start of the second half, the Arizona Wildcats came out to a fast start, as they went on a 6-0 run early to push their lead out to 11 points.
A couple of early turnovers doomed the Huskies in their start to the second half and the Huskies needed to stop the bleeding and answer the bell. The trend
would continue over the next few minutes, as the Huskies couldn’t quite get out of their way with more turnovers.
To add insult to injury, Stewart collected his 3rd foul of the game, which meant that he and McDaniels each had 3 fouls.
At the 15:47 mark, the Wildcats were winning 46-34 and the Huskies were definitely in “danger zone” mode, with it starting to slip away.
Arizona would hit another three-pointer, forcing a timeout at the 14:06 mark, with the Huskies trailing by a score of 49-34.
The Huskies had no answer for matching Arizona’s hot shooting and methodical game plan, which gave them fits.
Over the next few minutes, the Huskies went on a mini-run, but it was quickly tempered by Arizona who led 54-40 at the 11:24 mark.
Hopkins was dealt a blow when Stewart picked up his 4th foul at the 11:07 mark and was forced to leave him in the game.
Washington would fight hard over the next 5:00 minutes and pull within 10 but each time they gained momentum, the Wildcats would answer.
At the 6:10 mark, Arizona was still holding on to a double-digit lead of 12 at 63-51 and the Huskies looked for one final.
The effort was there for the Huskies, as they continued to play hard and cut into that Wildcat lead, but they couldn’t get it closer than 7.
During a timeout, Arizona was still leading the Huskies 69-58, with 3:15 left in the game and no signs of relinquishing the lead.
It was a valiant final push down the stretch for Washington, but in the end, Arizona was simply the better team this time around.
The story of the game for the Huskies were the 19 turnovers that stunted their rhythm and consistency, and ultimately sealed their fate.
When the final horn sounded, the Wildcats won 77-70, which made the Huskies visit to Las Vegas much briefer than they were hoping for.
The Huskies were led by Isaiah Stewart, who had a career hight 29 points and 12 rebounds on the night. The next closest Husky was true freshman guard Marcus Tsohonis with 14 points and 7 rebounds.
Arizona was led by freshman guard Josh Green, who finished with 19 points and 4 rebounds on the night.
It was a frustrating defeat for the Huskies, as they couldn’t get over the hump down the stretch during their final moments of the game.
Next up for the Huskies (15-17, 5-13) is either a very remote shot at an NIT Tournament berth or the end of the season. Washington’s status will be determined in the coming days.
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