TUCSON, Ariz. - All the time Nic Wise and his Arizona teammates have spent shooting free throws lately paid off in a 106-97 victory over No. 23 Washington on Thursday night.
The Wildcats (13-8, 3-5 Pac-10) set a McKale Center record by making 41 of 51 free throws in the game, including going 34-of-40 in the second half.
Wise scored a career-high 29 points and was 14-for-14 at the line. He had eight free throws down the stretch as Washington (15-5, 6-2) closed a 16-point lead to 91-88 with 1:51 remaining.
"We have been getting extra work the last couple of weeks and it really paid off," Arizona's Chase Budinger said.
Arizona made only three field goals over the final 11 minutes, the last one Zane Johnson's 3-pointer that made it 94-88 with 1:40 left. It was his only field goal of the game, and only the second shot for the Wildcats in nearly 9 minutes.
"When he locked and loaded for that shot I just about had a heart attack," Budinger said. "I just looked up and said, 'Uh oh.' Once it hit the net and went in it was a relief. They were on a little run. It turned out to be a huge shot."
Budinger added 25 points, while Jordan Hill had 18 and reserve Kyle Fogg 16.
"We had to result to fouling and pressing and trapping. It got away from us a little bit. We had to get to that point because they were very aggressive and we couldn't guard them," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "This is definitely a step back in terms of how we have been playing. We could not defend well."
Jon Brockman led Washington with 27 points, while Justin Dentmon added 23 and Isaiah Thomas 15.
"It was a huge win for us. They are the first place team in the Pac-10 and we are pretty far down," Budinger said. "It gives us a lot of confidence that we can play with anybody in the Pac-10."
Washington closed within 98-93 on Brockman's three-point play with 53 seconds remaining.
Arizona took turns shooting free throws the rest of the way to cool off Washington, which was in first place in the Pac-10 after winning 13 of its previous 14 games.
"We have to bring it. We talked about it all week," Romar said. "Sometimes you can tell a child not to touch the stove, but until he touches it he doesn't really believe it is hot. With us tonight maybe we thought we were OK."
The Huskies closed a 16-point lead to 91-88 following a three-point play by Venoy Overton and a driving layup by Thomas.
The Wildcats took a 69-53 lead midway through the second half after going on a 13-0 run, started with 3-pointers by Budinger and Wise.
Budinger and Fogg added consecutive baseline drives before Jamelle Horne connected on a 3-pointer for the 16-point lead.