TUCSON, Ariz. — Give Round One to Arizona in the battle for supremacy in the Pac-10, thanks largely to a near-perfect night at the free throw line.
Channing Frye scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half and the 11th-ranked Wildcats made 38 of 40 free throws to beat No. 10 Washington 91-82 on Thursday night.
The Wildcats (17-3, 7-1) — 11-0 at home this season — made 31 straight from the line between Hassan Adams’ miss of the front end of a 1-and-1 with 9:42 left in the first half and Mustafa Shakur’s miss of the second of two free throws with 33 seconds to play. The free throw performance was a school record for at least 30 attempts.
“Coach is going to make Hassan and Mustafa run for missing those two,” Frye joked. “That percentage is what we have to expect from each other. We need that type of concentration. Without the free throws, I’m not sure we could have made this close.”
Salim Stoudamire scored 25 points for Arizona, capped by a three-point play on a leaning baseline bank shot with 44 seconds left. Fouled by Nate Robinson as he crashed to the floor, Stoudamire made the free throw to put the Wildcats up 88-82.
Stoudamire was 9 for 9 at the line and Frye was 8 for 8.
“Salim is playing at a very, very high level,” Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. “I think that as a result, the chemistry of that team is at a high right now.”
Stoudamire said he had heard that Washington players had badmouthed him. True or not, it served as motivation.
“The word was that I had no heart, they could face-guard me and push me, bump me, and then I would fold,” he said. “I took that to heart. I wanted to come out and establish myself early. I did sustain it for 40 minutes.”
Shakur added 19 points for Arizona, which trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half and was down 47-40 at the break against the Huskies, who beat the Wildcats three times last season. That was the only time in coach Lute Olson’s career that his team had lost three games to the same opponent in the same season.
“Last year was last year,” Olson said. “We are a different team. We are better defensively. We have better depth.”
Brandon Roy led Washington (16-3, 6-2) with 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists but was just 5 of 14 from the field. Bobby Jones and Tre Simmons each scored 13 points for the Huskies, while Will Conroy had 12 points and nine assists. Robinson scored 10 points, nearly seven below his season average.
“It was very frustrating,” Simmons said. “Every time they came down the court, they were on the line. But that’s just something we’ve got to play through. We shouldn’t have fouled so much.”
The Huskies were called for 26 fouls, Arizona 17.
“I’m not going to say the refs like cheated for them,” Roy said, “but I think they took us out of what we do well — that’s pressure and get after guys.”
Arizona played zone defense the entire second half, and outscored the Huskies 51-35.
“The zone surprised us a little bit because they hadn’t shown it that much,” Romar said.
Conroy’s 3-pointer gave Washington its final lead, 73-70, with 6:34 to play. Frye, who didn’t even take a shot in the first half, scored the next six points on two free throws and two 15-footers and Arizona led for good 77-73 with 5:15 to go.
Washington cut the lead to three four times over the final 4:19, the last at 85-82 on Robinson’s 16-foot jumper with 1:11 to go.
The teams meet again Feb. 26 in Seattle.
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