All the time Nic Wise and his Arizona teammates have spent shooting free throws lately paid off in a 106-97 victory over No. 23 Washington on Thursday night at Tucson, Ariz.
The Wildcats (13-8, 3-5) set a McKale Center record by making 41 of 51 free throws in the game, including going 34 of 40 in the second half.
Wise scored a career-high 29 points and was 14 for 14 at the line.
He had eight free throws down the stretch as Washington (15-5, 6-2) closed a 16-point lead to 91-88 with 1:51 remaining.
“We have been getting extra work the last couple of weeks and it really paid off,” Arizona’s Chase Budinger said.
Arizona made only three field goals over the final 11 minutes, the last one Zane Johnson’s 3-pointer that made it 94-88 with 1:40 left. It was his only field goal of the game, and only the second shot for the Wildcats in nearly 9 minutes.
“When he locked and loaded for that shot I just about had a heart attack,” Budinger said. “I just looked up and said, ‘Uh oh.’ Once it hit the net and went in, it was a relief. They were on a little run. It turned out to be a huge shot.”
Budinger added 25 points, while Jordan Hill had 18 and reserve Kyle Fogg 16.
“We had to result to fouling and pressing and trapping. It got away from us a little bit. We had to get to that point because they were very aggressive and we couldn’t guard them,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “This is definitely a step back in terms of how we have been playing. We could not defend well.”
Jon Brockman led Washington with 27 points, while Justin Dentmon added 23.
Washington closed within 98-93 on Brockman’s three-point play with 53 seconds remaining.
Arizona took turns shooting free throws the rest of the way to cool off Washington, which was in first place in the Pac-10 after winning 13 of its previous 14 games.
The Huskies closed a 16-point lead to 91-88 following a three-point play by Venoy Overton and a driving layup by Thomas.
Southern California 70, Stanford 69: At Los Angeles, Taj Gibson, recovered from a bout with pneumonia earlier this week, scored 20 points, leading the Trojans (14-6, 5-3) to a victory over the Cardinal (13-5, 3-5).
Stanford had a chance to win, but Lawrence Hill’s baseline jumper went in and out as time expired.
Daniel Hackett and Leonard Washington added 12 points apiece for USC.
Hill had 19 points and eight rebounds and Landry Fields added 18 points for the Cardinal.
(17) UCLA 81, California 66: At Los Angeles, Darren Collison scored 18 points and the Bruins (16-4, 6-2) beat the Golden Bears (16-5, 5-3) to climb back into a first-place tie atop the Pac-10.
UCLA had fallen out of first with last weekend’s defeat at No. 23 Washington, but the Huskies’ loss at Arizona dropped them into a tie with UCLA.
Theo Robertson scored 19 points to lead the Golden Bears.