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No. 1 Arizona Holds Off Washington, 71-62
Courtesy: Associated Press
Release: 01/04/2014
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Nick Johnson scored 24 points, Aaron Gordon had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and top-ranked Arizona pulled away late to hold off Washington 71-62 on Saturday.

Arizona (15-0, 2-0 Pac-12) had a hard time shaking the Huskies before stretching the lead behind its defense in the final three minutes. The Wildcats had 10 dunks among their 44 field goals and hit 7 of 8 free throws in the final two minutes to remain undefeated. They're off to their best start since the 1931-32 team set a school record by opening with 16 straight wins.

T.J. McConnell overcame a poor shooting game with six assists, five rebounds and four steals while teaming with Johnson to hound the Huskies at the top of Arizona's defense.

Washington (9-6, 1-1) kept up with the bigger Wildcats well into the second half behind good shooting and strong inside play.

The Huskies went cold down the stretch, though, shooting 10 of 33 in the second half while missing all seven of their 3-point attempts.

C.J. Wilcox led Washington with 20 points. Perris Blackwell had 12 points and 12 rebounds and knocked around Kaleb Tarczewski inside, helping to hold Arizona's center to seven points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Washington had a tough non-conference schedule and opened Pac-12 play with an impressive road win, racing past Arizona State early for a 76-65 victory.

The Huskies faced a much stiffer challenge against Arizona.

The Wildcats have been No. 1 for a month and have one of the nation's best defenses behind a group of versatile, athletic players.

Arizona was at its defensive best in its conference opener Thursday, setting McKale Center records by holding Washington State to 25 points, nine field goals and 20 percent shooting.

The Huskies were able to keep up with the Wildcats in the first half, scoring inside and outrebounding them to lead 35-33.

Washington took a quick six-point lead in the second half, but Arizona turned up the defensive pressure, holding the Huskies to one field goal in a 10-minute span.

Gordon was quiet in the first half and, at the urging of his coaches, became more aggressive, scoring some big baskets while grabbing 10 rebounds.

Johnson was good at both ends, following a 360 dunk in the first half with a couple more acrobatic moves in the second. He and McConnell also keyed Arizona's defensive effort in the second half, creating havoc and steals with their constant pressure.

Washington point guard Nigel Williams-Goss had a hard time shaking Arizona's two best perimeter defenders, hitting 4 of 12 shots for nine points while committing three turnovers.

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