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Originally published February 23, 2013 at 7:58 PM | Page modified February 23, 2013 at 9:52 PM

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Washington State digs big hole, falls at Arizona

A 17-point victory over the Pac-12's last-place team left Arizona coach Sean Miller in no mood to lavish praise on his team, particularly...

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TUCSON, Ariz. — A 17-point victory over the Pac-12's last-place team left Arizona coach Sean Miller in no mood to lavish praise on his team, particularly because of the 12th-ranked Wildcats' dubious second-half effort on defense, something that's become a distressing pattern.

If not for Kevin Parrom's offense, and Washington State's lousy free-throw shooting, Arizona's 73-56 victory on Saturday would have been a whole lot closer. Parrom matched his career best with five three-pointers — in six tries — scoring a season-high 19 points.

"I don't know where we would be in this game if Kevin didn't play the way he played," Miller said.

The senior entered the game shooting 26 percent from three-point range in conference play and was just 2 of 12 in his previous six outings. But he had the touch from the start this time, opening the game with two three-pointers and the Wildcats (23-4, 11-4 Pac-12) led all the way.

"I was happy the first one went in," he said, "because I don't remember the last time I made a three."

Arizona was up by as many as 21 points early in the second half before the Cougars cut it to 11 late. It was that lull, which followed similar drop-offs in a litany of other contests, that perturbed the coach.

"The second half at Colorado, the second half at Utah, the second half against Cal, the second half against Stanford wasn't very good," Miller said. "So it's our team that is having a hard time playing very, very hard for 40 minutes. The one thing that I know is we're not the post talented, prolific offensive team, so when we don't play over the top hard and together, it really shows up."

Washington State coach Ken Bone lamented his team's slow start but at least liked the last 20 minutes.

"I think we were the more aggressive team (in the second half)," he said. "We attacked the rim. We made a few threes, although we still didn't make our free throws."

The Cougars finished 14 of 28 at the line.

Arizona plays at Southern California and UCLA next week, then wraps up regular-season play at home against Arizona State. A co-title won't do, Parrom said.

"I'm selfish. I don't want to share with anybody," he said. "I want to cut down the nets and be the only team in first place. We can't control what the other team does, but on my senior night, I want to be able to cut down the net so these next three games we have to buckle up on defense and play consistently on defense — first and second half."

WASHINGTON ST. (11-17) — Lacy 3-6 3-6 10, DiIorio 2-4 3-5 7, Motum 7-13 5-11 20, Woolridge 2-4 1-2 6, Shelton 2-6 2-2 7, Leavitt 0-2 0-0 0, Longrus 0-1 0-2 0, Ballard 0-0 0-0 0, Boese 1-3 0-0 3, Kernich-Drew 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 18-40 14-28 56.

ARIZONA (23-4) — Lyons 5-11 1-1 14, Parrom 6-7 2-3 19, Johnson 2-6 3-5 8, Tarczewski 4-6 4-5 12, Hill 2-5 1-2 5, York 0-1 0-0 0, Mayes 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley 3-4 1-2 7, Chol 1-2 0-0 2, Jerrett 2-3 0-0 6. Totals 25-45 12-18 73.

Halftime — Arizona 35-19. Three-point goals — Washington St. 6-16 (Woolridge 1-1, Kernich-Drew 1-1, Lacy 1-2, Boese 1-2, Motum 1-4, Shelton 1-5, DiIorio 0-1), Arizona 11-22 (Parrom 5-6, Lyons 3-8, Jerrett 2-3, Johnson 1-3, York 0-1, Hill 0-1). Fouled out — Ashley. Rebounds — Washington St. 23 (Motum, Shelton 5), Arizona 30 (Parrom 7). Assists — Washington St. 13 (Shelton 5), Arizona 19 (Johnson 6). Total fouls — Washington St. 19, Arizona 21. A — 14,545.


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