Tue, 13 Apr 2021

Arizona rolling into home finale vs. Washington

Field Level Media
27 Feb 2021, 06:40 GMT+10

Arizona, which had no trouble dispatching Washington when they last played nearly two months ago, plays its home finale, against the Huskies, on Saturday in Tucson, Ariz.

The Wildcats (16-8, 10-8 Pac-12) held Washington (5-19, 4-15) to 31.3 percent shooting in an 80-53 victory in Seattle on Dec.31.

Arizona seems to be ready for a successful Senior Day, after winning at then-No. 17 Southern California last Saturday and controlling most of the second half Thursday night in a 69-53 home win over Washington State.

That effort pleased coach Sean Miller, whose team concludes its season Monday at Oregon before serving a self-imposed one-year postseason ban in response to an NCAA investigation into infractions.

"We truly are that team that is playing for each other," Miller said. "You hear coaches sometimes give that analogy, but that's what we're playing for. Nothing else. Whether it's the COVID protocols, the consistent practices, being able to handle a couple of really tough losses ... our guys have bounced back.

"We want to play our best down the stretch here."

Miller said that Arizona senior Ira Lee, a rotational post player for the past four seasons, will start on Saturday. Lee has not said if he will take advantage of the NCAA offering an extra year of eligibility to winter-sports athletes because of the pandemic.

Miller added that he is "optimistic" that Kerr Kriisa will be available against Washington after the freshman guard sat out against Washington State due to a groin injury suffered in practice. Kriisa had started the four previous games, providing defensive energy and 3-point shooting (10 of 25).

While Arizona is second in the Pac-12 in scoring at 75.7 points per game, Washington is second-to-last at 66.3.

The Huskies are coming off successive losses at Arizona State. After getting blown out 97-64 Tuesday, they nearly pulled out a victory Thursday but missed their final seven shots after tying the game at 72. ASU won 80-72.

"It's a focus. It's a mindset," coach Mike Hopkins said after Thursday's game. "I was proud of the way the guys responded today. But that is the (lack of) consistency that you saw -- so high and low, right? It's either 90 degrees or it's 40 degrees and we need to be at 72 degrees."

Washington, which will be concluding a stretch of eight games in 17 days, is looking for more help for Quade Green. In the first meeting against Arizona, Green was the Huskies' lone threat, putting in 23 points while shooting 8 of 21 from the field. His teammates were 12 of 43.

Green is averaging a team-best 14.6 points. For Arizona, James Akinjo leads the way with 15.0 points per game.

--Field Level Media

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