UW seniors on beating Arizona
After Washington beat Oregon State in January, securing its second road sweep of the season, point guard David Crisp declared that he wasn’t satisfied yet.
Before this season, the Huskies hadn’t recorded a single road sweep in six years. Now, they have two — and they’re halfway finished with another. But following the win over the Beavers, Crisp was clear about his intentions.
“I want more,” he said then.
He was talking about road sweeps. But with the season UW is having, he could’ve been talking about any number of things.
With its 67-60 victory over Arizona on Thursday night, the Huskies defeated the Wildcats in Arizona for the first time since 2012. In January, they won at Oregon for the first time since 2010.
They are undefeated in the Pac-12, the sixth team to reach the 10-0 mark since the conference went to an 18-game format in 1978-79. Every other team in the Pac-12 has at least four losses, meaning the Huskies have a substantial cushion with eight games remaining.
UW last won five straight Pac-12 road games in a stretch that spanned two seasons, beginning in February 2010 and ending in January 2011. The Huskies won six consecutive road games during that time, a streak they can match with a win over Arizona State on Saturday.
But despite the nearly unprecedented success on the road, head coach Mike Hopkins said the formula is simple.
“We got to focus on being poised in tough environments,” he said. “We sometimes just get too excited, you hear the crowd and you just want to make that play. You just got to play. can’t let that noise or that excitement dictate what we do. We have to play together, run our stuff and be in the game.”
Even though the Huskies went into halftime with a one-point lead over Arizona, Crisp said the Wildcats were able to take UW out of its comfort zone in the first half. That changed after the break.
“Second half, we just remembered to have poise, stay calm, remember the games we’ve had that have tested us,” Crisp said. “We just got into our sets. We played at our pace. We never let anybody else dictate what we want to do.”
UW hasn’t won the Pac-12 regular season since 2012. It hasn’t won the conference tournament since 2011. And the Huskies haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since then, either.
So while UW has already broken plenty of streaks this season, there are — in Crisp’s words — plenty of others still on the list. Several Huskies played through injury and illness against Arizona to get the Huskies one step closer.
“They can’t be tougher than us,” Hopkins said after the win. “They’re going to beat us if they’re tougher than us, and we’re not going to let that happen.”
That mindset has been a theme for UW throughout the conference season. And in a down year for the Pac-12, the Huskies have yet to stumble.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had them as a No. 8 seed in his latest NCAA Tournament projection released Friday morning. They’re NET ranking is up to 25. Arizona, at No. 68, has the second-highest ranking in the conference.
“Once you do everything as a team and you’re doing it together,” Crisp said, “it feels great.”