TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona has had trouble getting out of the gates at times this season and a late start combined with a rare desert snowstorm didn’t help any against Washington.
Once they got rolling, the Wildcats put any thought of another home loss well out of reach.
Solomon Hill had 19 points, Mark Lyons added 14 and No. 12 Arizona pulled away after an uninspired start to beat Washington 70-52 Wednesday night.
“It’s a good to get a great win in from of your home crowd, a place where we’ve dropped two,” Hill said. “It’s something we want to change. We don’t want to lose at home.”
A rowdy crowd filled the McKale Center despite the late tipoff and the frigid conditions, but Arizona (22-4, 10-4 Pac-12) didn’t give them much to cheer about, clanging one shot after another while needing nearly 12 minutes just to crack double figures.
Lyons got the Wildcats rolling, Hill took it from there and Johnson finished it off, revving up the crowd with fastbreak dunks, 3-pointers and a stifling defense that gave the Huskies no room to shoot anywhere on the floor.
Nick Johnson had 12 points, five assists and keyed a second-half run that put the game out of reach. Kaleb Tarczewski also gave Arizona a lift with 10 points and eight rebounds.
“Once we got through the first 8-to-10 minutes of the game, that’s the best we’ve played in some time,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said.
Washington (14-13, 6-8) failed to take advantage of Arizona’s slow start thanks to a tough night on offense.
The Huskies struggled in their previous meeting against the Wildcats and duplicated it in the desert, shooting 30 percent while making 1 of 11 from 3-point range.
Leading scorer C.J. Wilcox had 15 points, but had to work hard to get them, hit 1 of 6 from 3-point range. Abdul Gaddy added 12 points for Washington, which never threatened the lead after Arizona went up eight at halftime.
“We don’t play with a lack of pride. In the second half, we played with a lack of pride,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Most of the time we go out there and compete. In the first half, I thought we competed, but in the second half we lost our competition.”
The Wildcats and Huskies played a brutal game in Seattle on Jan. 31, combining to miss 26 3-pointers while neither team hit 60 points.
Arizona won it 57-53, overcoming 17 turnovers and a 3-for-18 night from the arc behind one of its better defensive efforts of the season. The Wildcats held Wilcox to 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting and the Huskies to 1 of 12 from 3-point range to pull out the not-so-pretty victory.
This one was just as ugly in the beginning.
Going deep into the shot clock on many of its possessions, Arizona had a stretch over 4½ minutes without a field goal and didn’t crack double figures until the 8:07 mark of the first half. The Wildcats had another four-minute lull between field goals before Lyons got them rolling with a pair of 3-pointers wrapped around two free throws.
“We were a little tentative, just feeling it out a little bit,” Johnson said. “Mark gave us that spark and ever since then, we were rolling.”
The Huskies weren’t exactly sharp on offense, playing well in spurts, but mostly struggling against Arizona’s defense.
Washington had trouble even getting looks from the 3-point line — 1 for 3 in the first half — and missed plenty of shots around the rim, going 11 for 31 in the first half.
The Wildcats were 10 for 28 from the floor, but led 33-25 with the assist of a technical foul on Washington center Aziz N’Diaye for tossing Arizona’s Kevin Parrom to the floor in a loose-ball scrum.
Johnson made sure the Huskies didn’t make up any ground to start the second half. He scored on the break after a pair of bounce passes from Lyons, knocked down a 3-pointer and added another layup in transition.
Johnson’s nine points in the first 6 minutes of the half pushed Arizona’s lead to 49-29.
The Wildcats gave Washington no shot at the comeback, forcing the Huskies to miss all eight of their 3-pointers in the second half after allowing the previous three opponents to hit a combined 22 of 45.
“We just got knocked down bad, but we need to get back up,” Washington forward Desmond Simmons said. “We can’t have a pit party. This was embarrassing, but we can’t point fingers.”