No. 14 Washington Defeats No. 9 Arizona
Feb. 26, 2005
By TIM BOOTH
Associated Press Writer
SEATTLE (AP) - Playing his last home game, Washington's Tre Simmons was notabout to watch Arizona celebrate a Pac-10 title on the Huskies' court.
Simmons scored 24 points, and No. 14 Washington denied the ninth-rankedWildcats' bid to win the Pac-10 title outright with a 93-85 win Saturday.
With the victory, the Huskies moved one step closer to their firstconference crown in 20 years. Washington can clinch at least a share of itsfirst Pac-10 regular season title since 1985 with a sweep of California andStanford next weekend.
'Do you know how hard it is for me to hold back and not do what a lot ofcoaches do and tell you how great of a player Tre Simmons is?' Washingtoncoach Lorenzo Romar said. 'When you look at what we've done this year and whathe has done, he has had a phenomenal season.'
It might have been the last home game for Washington's Nate Robinson too.The junior, who considered entering the NBA Draft last year before returning toschool, had 22 points for the Huskies (23-4, 13-3 Pac-10).
It was Washington's 22nd straight win at home. Their last home loss was onJan. 10, 2004, a 86-84 overtime setback to UCLA.
'I was patient and I let everything come to me,' Robinson said. 'Itplayed out perfect.'
Arizona (24-5, 14-3) will still be co-champs with a win Saturday at ArizonaState, but the loss kept Arizona coach Lute Olson from passing UCLA's JohnWooden for most Pac-10 victories. Each has 304.
'This hurt, but we're still playing for the Pac-10 championship,' saidArizona's Channing Frye. The loss snapped the Wildcats seven-game win streak.
Frye scored a game-high 30 points on 13-of-15 shooting for the Wildcats. ButSalim Stoudamire, averaging 18.2 points per game, struggled to get into theoffense for the second straight game. Stoudamire had 15 points, but missed2-of-3 free throws with 17 seconds left that could have pulled Arizona withinthree. He scored only eight against Washington State on Thursday.
'If he gets hot, there's no telling what their team can do,' Simmons saidof Stoudamire. 'You just try and take him out of the game and make somebodyelse beat you.'
Simmons made his first three 3-point attempts and 5-of-10 overall, ignitingthe home crowd, many of whom had camped out for days to get prime seats for thegame. Simmons had 29 against Arizona State on Thursday, and Saturday was hiseighth 20-point performance of the season.
'You hit that first shot and you start to think everything is going to goin,' Simmons said.
Leading by eight at halftime, Washington scored 10 of the first 14 points tostart the second half and led 52-39 with 16:28 remaining.
For much of the half, Arizona could not get closer than six, but two basketsfrom Hassan Adams and a 3-pointer from Mustafa Shakur cut the lead to 75-74with 5 minutes left.
Frye was called for goaltending, and then Washington senior Hakeem Rollinsouthustled Frye for a rebound, saving it to Robinson who drained a 3-pointerfor a 80-74 lead with 3:42 left.
A putback by Rollins and a driving floater by Robinson, over Frye, gave theHuskies a 86-81 lead with 1:15 left.
'Hakeem Rollins had that unbelievable put-back,' Romar said. 'That mayhave been the biggest play of the game.'
Adams had 18 for Arizona, while Bobby Jones added 13 for Washington
Frye was dominant on the inside, with five dunks. He attempted, and made,just one shot from outside the key as Arizona scored 58 points in the paint.
But the Wildcats lacked an outside complement, making just 1-of-11 3-pointattempts in the first half and 6-of-23 for the game.
'I thought we had them on the run a couple of times, but they did a greatjob of maintaining their pose,' Olson said.
Free throws were also telling. In the first matchup, Arizona made aschool-record 38-of-40 from the line, but early on it was apparent officialswould let the two teams play. Arizona did not attempt a free throw until 14:57remained in the game and the two teams shot just 30 combined, most coming inthe final minutes.
'We talked about defending with our feet and our chest and not committingsilly fouls,' Romar said.
The Wildcats used an aggressive zone defense in the first meeting, forcingWashington into a school-record 34 3-point attempts. Arizona played the samezone on Saturday, but Washington was more patient in its halfcourt offense,attempting just 24 3-pointers, making 11.
'Based on what was at stake, it was a huge performance by our team,' Romarsaid.