PULLMAN, Wash. - When Solomon Hill launched a three-point shot just before the first-half buzzer, the ball covered not just three-quarters of Washington State's court before falling in.
It also covered up a host of Arizona Wildcats deficiencies.
In their 79-65 win over Washington State, that put No. 8 Arizona back into a first-place tie with Oregon at the Pac-12's halfway point, the Wildcats lost forward Kevin Parrom to a first-half ejection for a "flagrant two" foul when he was found to have thrown an elbow at the head of WSU's DaVonté Lacy.
Meanwhile, Arizona's do-everything guard, Nick Johnson, was repeatedly throwing up over an undetermined stomach issue.
And, outside of the six three-pointers Hill canned in the first half, they didn't shoot particularly well early. Nor did they defend particularly well late in the game. They also had three key players in foul trouble, with Brandon Ashley fouling out for the first time this season.
But it was a win - and a sweep of the Washington schools, Arizona's first such sweep since 2005-06.
"Tonight was more a function of survival," UA coach Sean Miller said. "Nick Johnson really shouldn't have played, not that he was in any danger, but he vomited during the warmups and probably threw up about five times during the game and halftime.
"The fact that he was willing to play says everything you need to know about him."
The sweep was made even more meaningful because of Saturday's earlier Pac-12 results. Oregon lost to Cal and ASU lost to Washington, meaning the Ducks slipped down to a tie with UA while ASU dropped to third place, all just nine days after the Wildcats lost at home to UCLA to fall two games behind Oregon.
"This makes up for the UCLA loss," Hill said.
The way Hill went in the first half, getting good looks off UA screens and steadily building his confidence, the Wildcats nearly obliterated the Cougars early.
He made 6 of 8 three-pointers in the first half, already beating his previous career high of five three-pointers for a game.
"I got a rhythm going. It just felt good," Hill said.
Maybe it was more than that.
"I think Ray Allen maybe jumped into his soul or something like that," UA guard Mark Lyons said. "But he's been shooting the ball really well and he's an elite player in this conference and the country. We had to keep feeding the hot hand until it went cold."
After UA built a 40-26 halftime lead, Hill did get cold in the second half. He took only two shots and did not score after halftime, the partial result of having WSU defenders suddenly guarding him more aggressively face up.
"It was terrible," Hill said. "I let them disrupt me."
But it ultimately didn't matter much. While WSU made a few pushes to get back in the game during the second half, UA kept hanging on to comfortable leads while Lyons all but put an end to it when he hit a three-pointer with 3:10 left to give UA a 69-56 lead, then came back for a layup after a WSU turnover to put the Wildcats up by 15.
Lyons led the Wildcats in scoring with 20 points while Hill collected all of his 18 in the first half off the three-pointers.
After Parrom's ejection with 10:43 left in the first half, Lacy made 1 of 2 free throws and the Wildcats led 21-12, but Arizona kept a comfortable lead the rest of the half even before Hill fired his final bomb from near the WSU three-point line.
Parrom's ejection was the first for Arizona since the Wildcats had a string of ejections in three straight Thursday games in January 2012: Hill was tossed for hitting Utah's Cedric Martin in the head - also a flagrant 2 foul - while Kyryl Natyazhko was ejected for leaving the bench during a UA-Oregon State scuffle, and Josiah Turner was ejected for committing two technical fouls against Brock Motum and the Cougars.
Parrom's blow was ruled to have been a flagrant two, which is defined by the NCAA to include excessive elbow swings that make contact above the shoulders.
Miller said he wanted to review the play before commenting at length, but he said Parrom "deserved to get thrown out if (officials) were accurate."
"He embarrassed himself, the university and our basketball program," Miller said.
Parrom was not made available for comment, but both Miller and Hill indicated there were verbal and physical incidents on both sides throughout the game. Hill, whose foul against Utah's Martin appeared to be similar last season, said Parrom needs to learn not to retaliate.
"Kev has to be smart about it," Hill said. "You can't let those guys get to you."
Miller said he might discipline Parrom internally, depending on what he sees in reviewing the film, but was unsure if that would affect Parrom's status for Wednesday's UA-Stanford game.
• Who: Stanford at Arizona
• When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
• TV: ESPNews (Ch 331 on Cox; Ch 102 on Comcast; Ch 207 on DirecTV; Ch 142 on Dish)