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Sports >  UW basketball

UW men blown out in second half by No. 6 Arizona for 15th straight loss to ranked opponent

Jan. 28, 2023 Updated Sat., Jan. 28, 2023 at 5:25 p.m.

Washington men's basketball huddles during a Pac-12 Conference game against Arizona Saturday in Seattle.  (Courtesy of UW Athletics)
Washington men's basketball huddles during a Pac-12 Conference game against Arizona Saturday in Seattle. (Courtesy of UW Athletics)
By Percy Allen Seattle Times

SEATTLE – The Washington men’s basketball team targeted Saturday’s rematch against No. 6 Arizona as a chance to rekindle their flickering NCAA Tournament hopes.

And for about 25 minutes, the Huskies kept pace with fleet-footed Wildcats.

Midway through the second half, however, Arizona shifted its high-octane offense into another gear that sparked a 19-1 run and Washington never recovered.

The Huskies’ 95-72 defeat left the sold-out crowd of 9,268 at Alaska Airlines Arena moaning and tempered enthusiasm around a team that had won four of its previous five games before its latest setback.

Washington’s 23-point loss resembled blowout defeats at home against No. 23 Auburn (84-61) and No. 11 UCLA (74-49). The Huskies have lost 15 straight games against Associated Press Top 25 ranked opponents and seven in a row against the Wildcats.

Keion Brooks Jr. scored a game-high-tying 25 points, Keyon Menifield had 20 and Noah Williams 10 for UW, which fell to 13-10, 5-7 Pac-12.

The Huskies controlled the game early and led for 15 minutes in the first half despite allowing the Wildcats to shoot 51.9% from the field. UW had nine more shots than Arizona before the break thanks to eight offensive boards and a 19-14 rebounding edge.

Brooks’ putback dunk over Kylan Boswell sent a jolt through the capacity crowd and gave UW a 30-25 lead with 5:17 left in the first half.

Washington was up 34-29 when Arizona scored nine unanswered points, which included baskets from Azuolas Tubelis, Oumar Ballo and Kerr Kriisa.

Langston Wilson stopped the run with a putback dunk as time expired in the first half and UW trailed 38-36 at halftime.

Early in the second half, Braxton Meah’s alley-oop dunk off a feed from Menifield put the Huskies ahead 44-42.

That’s when Arizona responded with a 14-0 run that included three Kriisa 3-pointers to go up 56-44 with 13:07 left.

Jamal Bey sank a free throw that briefly interrupted the Wildcats, but Arizona added two more baskets to extend the run to 19-1 for a 61-45 lead at the 11:28 mark.

The Huskies never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

Whenever the Huskies pulled close, Ballo (21 points) dunked, Tubelis (25 points) converted a contested layup or Kriisa (18) hit a jumper.

Arizona (19-3, 8-3) shot 52.3% while UW was 43.5% from the field.

UW travels to Los Angeles next week for two games, starting with Thursday’s matchup against No. 8 UCLA.

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