Consecutive losses will likely end Washington’s stay in the Top 25, but its more immediate concern is trying to get back into the Pac-10 race.
The 24th-ranked Huskies will try to get their offense back on track Sunday at Arizona.
Picked as one of the contenders for the conference title, Washington (10-4, 1-2) instead has struggled as its high-powered offense has sputtered.
The Huskies were among the nation’s best during non-conference play with 83.5 points per game. In their three conference games, they’ve averaged 68.7 points on 41.3 percent shooting and had their worst scoring effort this season in Friday night’s 68-51 loss at Arizona State.
Isaiah Thomas was the only Washington player in double figures with 20 points as the team shot 36.0 percent. Leading scorer Quincy Pondexter, averaging 20.4 points, was held to nine.
“They played great defense,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We didn’t have much going on the inside or outside.”
Romar’s team will try to take advantage of Arizona’s conference-worst defense, giving up 72.7 points per game. The Wildcats (7-8, 1-2), who have dropped three of four, haven’t lost to Washington at home since March 4, 2006.
In its three straight home victories over the Huskies, Arizona has averaged 91.3 points on 56.9 percent shooting. The Wildcats won 106-97 last season against then-No. 23 Washington.
Washington has won two of three overall against the Wildcats. Pondexter has averaged 8.4 in the past five matchups and 7.0 all-time at Arizona.
“We’ve just got to scrap,” Pondexter said. “That’s all I can say. That will solve all the problems we’ve got.”
The Wildcats are hoping leading scorer Nic Wise can snap his shooting slump. The senior guard, averaging 15.1 points, has missed 27 of 39 attempts over the past four games, including nine of 10 from 3-point range.
He scored a team-best 15 in Friday night’s 78-76 loss to visiting Washington State, as the Wildcats gave up a layup with 0.1 seconds left. Freshman forward Derrick Williams added 13 points for his 10th straight game in double figures.
Williams is second on Arizona with 14.9 points per game and is among the conference’s best shooters at 57.6 percent.
He scored a career-best 28 in the Wildcats’ previous meeting with a ranked team, a 74-72 double overtime loss at home to then-No. 24 UNLV on Dec. 2. That followed an 84-72 loss to then-No. 24 Vanderbilt in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 25.
Arizona leads the series 42-24, winning 24 of 30 on its home floor.