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Hill's 3-point shooting helps Arizona win on road

The SportsXchange

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State University is located in the smallest, most isolated city in the Pac-12 Conference, so perhaps news travels slowly to this out-of-the-way place.

That might explain why the Cougars gave Arizona forward Solomon Hill plenty of room on the perimeter Saturday night.

"He's mostly known for going to the basket," Washington State guard Royce Woolridge said.

If the truth be known, 41 of the 92 shots Hill has taken in Pac-12 Conference play have come from 3-point range. All but two of his 11 shots Saturday night were 3-pointers, and Hill drained 6 of 8 from long range in the first half to spark eighth-ranked Arizona's 79-65 romp.

Hill, a four-year starter, had never hit more than five 3-pointers in a game. He took just two shots in a scoreless second half but capped an 18-point first half with a buzzer-beater from perhaps 55 feet to give the Wildcats a commanding 40-26 lead.

Hill's sizzling outside shooting was impressive, considering the chip he was carrying on his shoulder.

"They went under a lot of screens (guarding him)," Hill said. "You go under a lot of screens -- especially as a senior, I've put in a lot of work -- I feel it's disrespect.

"If you look at (Washington's) C.J. Wilcox or anybody that can really shoot the ball, you're not going under screens, because they can light it up.

"So," he continued, "I hit my first two (3-pointers), and you know what? Every time I got space, I let it go."

Asked if the Cougars' defensive game plan focused much on Hill's outside shooting, Woolridge simply replied, "No."

Hill's 3-point attempts and shooting percentages have increased significantly each season at Arizona -- he was a self-described "slasher" in high school -- and he leads the Wildcats in 3-point shooting at 42 percent (37 of 88).

The Cougars struggled to find a balance between slowing Arizona's effective inside game and keeping an eye on the perimeter.

"We got caught in bad situations," Washington State forward D.J. Shelton said.

Cougars coach Ken Bone said, "It's a two-edged sword. ... A very, very good team exposed us (defensively)."

The victory, Arizona's third straight, pushed the Wildcats (19-2, 7-2 Pac-12) into a first-place tie with Oregon at the midway point in the conference schedule. The Cougars (11-11, 2-7) find themselves half a game ahead of last-place Oregon State.

Washington State never came closer than 10 points down in the second half. Arizona breezed despite the problems of guards Mark Lyons, Kevin Parrom and Nick Johnson.

Lyons scored 13 of his game-high 20 points in the second half after being limited to 11 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. Parrom was ejected midway through the opening half after a flagrant foul sent DaVonte Lacy flying to the floor. Johnson was ill and scored just six points in a quiet performance.

"He wasn't himself," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "He was 50 percent."

Lacy and Brock Motum led Washington State with 15 points. Shelton, a junior in his second year with the Cougars, notched his first double-double (13 points and 10 rebounds). Woolridge contributed 14 points.

Arizona also had four players score in double figures. Freshmen starters Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski both contributed 10 points.

The Wildcats sank 11 of 30 shots from 3-point range, compared with 6 of 19 for the Cougars.

NOTES: The Cougars fell to 7-123 against Top 10 teams. They've lost 12 straight to Top 10 opponents since beating No. 7 Arizona on Jan. 6, 2007. ... Most of the 6,002 spectators at Beasley Coliseum wore white shirts as part of a Coaches vs. Cancer promotion. ... The Wildcats lead the Pac-12 with 12 conference championships since joining the league (then the Pac-10) in 1978-79. ... The Cougars have not won a conference championship since 1940-41, when they lost to Wisconsin in the NCAA title game.
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