TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona is flying high — the No. 7 team in the country and probably on the rise, 20-2 and unbeaten in the Pac-12. And coach Sean Miller seems not at all satisfied.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona is flying high — the No. 7 team in the country and probably on the rise, 20-2 and unbeaten in the Pac-12.
And coach Sean Miller seems not at all satisfied.
Kadeem Allen scored 14 points to lead five Arizona players in double figures and the Wildcats wore down Washington 77-66 on Sunday.
Miller was sufficiently upset with the performance that he didn't allow any players to speak to the media after the game.
He said his team was tentative against the Washington zone early, committed too many first-half turnovers (nine) and, most of all, gave up way too many second-chance points (18).
Miller didn't think the Wildcats played well in their win over Washington State on Thursday night, either, and traced the problems to all the accolades the team received for their road sweep of the Los Angeles schools the previous week.
"All of a sudden to me we're a little bit ahead of ourselves," Miller said. "A lot of people saying great things and watching our effort level, our consistency, our togetherness. We weren't near this week where we were coming in. "
That's not to say all is doom and gloom.
"We earned the right to win both games. We made good plays when we needed to," Miller said. "We did some good things. I'm not going to spin it and act like all of a sudden death is among us. We're 20-2. Nobody has to tell me that. ... but every once in a while you can win a couple of these games and really start looking at yourself and saying we have to be better moving forward. And I think we do. We have to be better moving forward."
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar had a far different assessment of the Wildcats, who won their 14th straight overall and 18th in a row at home.
"I do know how you guys feel in Tucson about your team, but that's an awfully good basketball team," Romar said. "...You pretty much have to play close to perfect, error-free basketball to beat Arizona here, and we didn't quite do that today."
Kobi Simmons added 13 points, and Allonzo Trier, Dusan Ristic and Lauri Markkanen had 12 apiece for an Arizona team alone in first place in the conference thanks to Oregon's upset loss at Colorado Saturday night.
Freshman sensation Markelle Fultz scored 16 points for Washington (9-12, 2-7) but on 8-of-23 shooting. He was 0 for 4 on 3-pointers and missed all four of his free throws.
Washington led virtually entire first half before Arizona's offense finally got moving and pulled away in the second.
Arizona took its first lead since it was 4-2 on Allen's driving layup that put the Wildcats up 40-39 with 16:57 to play.
Arizona methodically pushed it from there. Markkanen, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week who was having a rough afternoon up to that point, sank a 3-pointer that made it 57-49.
Trier, in his third game back from his suspension for using a banned substance, scored the next four points on two free throws and a driving layup and the Wildcats led 61-49 with 7:33 to go.
Washington never got closer than seven after that.
Fultz didn't have a great day but he said he loved playing in the packed, noisy McKale Center.
"It's great to play in an atmosphere like this," he said. "I wish all our games were like that. It gets me fired up."
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Arizona wasn't at its best but was good enough to stay perfect in the conference with a big game looming at Oregon next Saturday. But first comes a trip to Corvallis, where Arizona has often struggled despite being a big favorite
HOME AND BACK
After losing at Arizona State on Wednesday night, Romar decided to take his team back to Seattle rather than wait in the desert four days for Sunday's game. They took a charter that arrived in Seattle at 2:30 a.m., Pacific time.
The Huskies flew commercial on their return trip and the plane was an hour late.
Fultz could have been wearing an Arizona uniform. The freshman guard from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, had narrowed his choices to Washington, Arizona and Kentucky before settling on the Huskies, who were among the first major college teams to show interest in him as an unheralded underclassman.
Washington: The Huskies return home to face USC on Wednesday night.
Arizona: The Wildcats play at last-place Oregon State Thursday night.
Follow Bob Baum on Twitter @thebaumerphx