No. 20 Wildcats Hold Off Washington, 74-69

Jan 12, 2002


AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE (AP) - Arizona counts on Jason Gardner to carry the team down thestretch. He did just that Saturday night.

Gardner, the lone returning starter from last year's NCAA tournamentrunner-up, scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half and added six assiststo lead the No. 20 Wildcats past Washington 74-69.

'The main thing is Jason. He hits those huge shots,' teammate Luke Waltonsaid.

Gardner's 3-pointer with 2:45 left made it 70-64 and he converted two freethrows in the final 47 seconds.

'He's as good as there is in the country,' Washington coach Bob Bendersaid.

Grant Leep's 3-pointer from the right wing with 30.7 seconds to go pulledWashington within 71-69. Gardner made a free throw, Washington's Curtis Allenmissed a 3 that would have tied it, and Salim Stoudamire added two free throwsfor the Wildcats (11-4, 4-2 Pac-10) with 16.3 seconds left.

Stoudamire made all six of his free throws to improve to 39-of-40 for theseason and finished with 16 points.

Doug Wrenn had his third straight 20-point game for the Huskies (7-9, 1-5),scoring 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting. He has scored 77 points in his lastthree games and is the first Washington player to have three straight gameswith 20 or more since Todd MacCulloch in 1999.

'There's going to come a time when we finish a game against a big-time teambut we let this one get away,' Wrenn said.

Rick Anderson had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Channing Frye added 11points as the Wildcats won consecutive road games for the first time thisseason. Arizona is 6-0 in games decided by five points or fewer.

'They need some games like that,' Wildcats coach Lute Olson said of hisyoung lineup. 'I don't need any games like that.'

Five of the eight players used by Arizona were freshmen, including twostarters.

Washington's David Dixon had 11 points and 14 rebounds, including threeputbacks in the second half. Allen added 16 points for the Huskies, who lostfor the seventh time in eight games.

Gardner's 3-pointer with 6:12 left capped a 9-1 run that put Arizona ahead64-58. The Wildcats shot 42 percent in the second half but made it to the foulline 22 times, making 14.

'We're winning close games, that's the main thing,' Gardner said. 'We'restarting to understand what the Pac-10 is all about.'

Walton struggled in his second game back after missing three games with astrained right Achilles' tendon. He had six points on 3-of-9 shooting and wascalled for a technical foul early in the second half.

In the first half, Arizona's zone defense - with Walton playing high in themiddle - made it hard for Allen to penetrate. The Huskies had difficulty movingthe ball and doing what they do best, which is shoot from the perimeter.

Washington, which came into the game shooting 40 percent from 3-point range,went just 6-for-22 on 3s.

'It was almost as if it was the first time seeing the zone,' Bender said.'I don't think we had as much success with the 3 overall, and that hurt usmentally in attacking the zone.'

Arizona used runs of 15-0 and 8-0 to take a 33-21 lead on Frye's dunk with4:08 left in the first half. Washington then produced an 11-2 run of its own toend the half with the Wildcats leading 35-32. Wrenn scored seven in the spurt.

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