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No. 5 Arizona digs out of early hole, edges Washington

January 5, 2023; Tempe, Ariz; USA; ASU guard Austin Nunez (2) steals the ball from WSU guard Andrej Jakimovski (23) at Wells Fargo Arena.

Basketball Wash St Asu Bb Washington State At Arizona State
Credit: Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Azuolas Tubelis scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as No. 5 Arizona fought past Washington’s tough defense and rallied for a 70-67 victory on Thursday night in Tucson, Ariz.

Arizona (14-1, 3-1 Pac-12) trailed by 14 in the first half and survived an 0-for-10 shooting start to the second half as Washington (9-7, 1-4) went up 50-43.

The Wildcats went more than six minutes without scoring before Kerr Kriisa’s 3-pointer with 11:19 left cut the deficit to 50-46 and sparked a 13-0 run that gave Arizona just enough of a cushion to avoid the upset.

The Huskies pushed the Wildcats until the final seconds, though, as Keion Brooks Jr. missed a 3-point attempt that would have tied the game in the final seconds. That allowed Arizona to escape with its 28th consecutive home victory.

The Huskies, led by Brooks’ 16 points and nine rebounds, lost their 15th straight matchup against a ranked team. Cole Bajema also scored 16 for Washington.

Tubelis, a junior, filled the box score with four assists, a career-high four blocks and three steals. Arizona’s Oumar Ballo added 15 points and seven rebounds, while Pelle Larsson scored 12. Kylan Boswell, a freshman, scored a career-high nine points to go with six rebounds and six assists.

Washington’s interior size and collapsing 2-3 zone provided plenty of problems for Arizona, which shot 36.4 percent (24 of 66) from the field after entering the game ranked second in the country in field-goal percentage (52.2 percent).

The Huskies were the more aggressive team at the start. They went on an early 8-0 run and took their biggest lead at 38-24 with 4:50 to go until halftime before the Wildcats finally got hot with a 15-0 run.

Kriisa’s shot from beyond the arc in the final minute of the half gave the Wildcats their first lead at 39-38, but the Huskies took a 42-41 edge into the break.

–Field Level Media