As they tiptoed down another frightful wire Saturday, with a frenzied "White Out" crowd on hand at McKale Center and an East Coast primetime audience watching on ESPN, the Arizona Wildcats had exactly what they wanted.
Freshman point guard Josiah Turner, the player newly identified by UA coach Sean Miller as perhaps the team's best go-to prospect at the end of a close game, had the ball with the Wildcats down by two and seconds to go. He drove inside for nearly a clean look at the basket just before the buzzer sounded.
Then Washington's explosive Tony Wroten leapt up, swatted Turner's shot away, and the Huskies held on to a 69-67 win.
Arizona dropped to 14-8 overall, 5-4 in the Pac-12 and, perhaps most alarmingly, to 0-5 in games decided by six points or less. The Wildcats received even worse news after the game, when they found out forward Kevin Parrom is out for the rest of the season with a broken foot.
Wroten's block not only helped move the Huskies to 14-7 and 7-2 but also provided them a deliciously revengeful twist to their perennially entertaining rivalry with the Wildcats.
It was nearly a year ago that Derrick Williams blocked a shot by Darnell Gant just before the buzzer to preserve UA's 87-86 win in the first "White Out" game held at McKale, when fans were asked to wear white and nearly all of them did.
This time, the man in a black uniform, Wroten, emerged to help the Huskies overcome a career-high 28-point effort from Solomon Hill, who had hit a three-pointer to tie the game with eight seconds left.
Hill's three left the Huskies with a quick chance to win the game or leave it headed to overtime, but Washington never needed to run a play. Just after Washington began moving up-court, Turner was called for blocking C.J. Wilcox with 5 seconds to go, and Wilcox hit two subsequent free throws that became game-winners.
"The ref saw something," Hill said. "It sucks that they called something with that little time left on the clock but they called it."
It was the foul the Wildcats did not want, against the guy they did not want at the line. Wilcox entered the game as a 91 percent shooter from the line and, having missed a one-on-one with 22 seconds to go to leave the Wildcats a window to tie or win the game, it was hardly a surprise that he made both this time.
"I knew there was no way that it would be an offensive foul," Washington's Terrence Ross said. "I was just happy that it was C.J."
In an ideal world for UA coach Sean Miller, of course, Turner wouldn't have been in a potential block-or-charge call situation.
But few things have been ideal for the Wildcats this season and the play was one of them.
Turner was not one of the players UA selected for postgame interviews, but Miller defended the point guard after the game.
"It's hard because you have this frenetic environment," Miller said. Knowing "time and score for a freshman, it's hard. To recognize that, 'Oh my god, the game is tied,' you're not down. … Of course we don't want to put ourselves in a position to take the charge but that's all part of a comeback in a fast-paced frenetic couple of minutes."
Besides, the way Miller and the Wildcats viewed it, they should not have been in a close-game situation in the first place.
Arizona led the Huskies 32-29 at halftime after Hill made a tip-in dunk at the halftime buzzer, but were down by three points less than five minutes into the second half.
A similar problem struck the Wildcats early, when they trailed 14-7 after committing four turnovers in the first five minutes.
"When it comes down to a close game like that, you have to take care of your business in the beginning," said center Jesse Perry.
Perry said the Wildcats gave up too many easy baskets early in the second half and noted that Washington had 18 offensive rebounds. The Huskies had 17 second-chance points, nine more than the Wildcats.
The inside was a particular problem for the Wildcats. Perry had 13 points and 12 rebounds but shot just 3 for 14 from the field while Washington center Aziz N'Diaye - who had a full 5 inches on Perry - had 12 points and eight rebounds.
"Washington's offensive rebounds, 18, you really felt that," Miller said. "They were bigger, faster and more physical throughout the game. It wore us down."
• Who: Arizona at Cal
• When: 9 p.m. Thursday
• TV: FSAZ