Isaiah Thomas did a little of everything again, scoring 22 points, handing out 10 assists and grabbing six rebounds, and No. 20 Washington took sole possession of first place in the Pacific-10 Conference with an 85-68 win over Arizona on Thursday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Coming off perhaps the best game of his career at California where Thomas scored 27 points and had 13 assists, the Huskies’ diminutive guard was at it again. He made 7 of 12 shots and posted his sixth straight game with at least seven assists.
Justin Holiday also scored 22 points for UW (14-4, 6-1 Pac-10), including a 3-pointer in the closing seconds for Thomas’ 10th assist.
Derrick Williams led Arizona (15-4, 4-2) with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but was saddled with foul trouble for most of the final 10 minutes. Williams didn’t score the final 6:42.
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Matthew Bryan-Amaning scored 14 of his 18 in the second half, 10 of those coming in the first 5:08 of the half. Bryan-Amaning also grabbed seven rebounds as the Huskies held a 41-35 advantage on the boards.
But the star was Thomas, who committed just one turnover. And he’ll wake up with plenty of floor burns to mark his effort.
The Huskies’ 5-foot-9 leader was everywhere, diving out of bounds to save loose balls or scrambling for a steal. And he continues to display an ability to run the Huskies attack after starting point guard Abdul Gaddy was lost for the season to a torn ACL.
Thomas had his highlight moments, not many better than his two one-handed lob passes to Bryan-Amaning and Venoy Overton for first-half dunks.
But no highlight for Thomas was better than his headfirst leap out of bounds to save a loose ball midway through the second half.
Darnell Gant threw an awful pass for Aziz N’Diaye in the post that was intercepted. Arizona raced into front court but a hustling Gant hurried back to block Kevin Parrom’s driving attempt. As the ball bounced toward the Arizona bench, Thomas went flying to save it, sliding about 15 feet off the floor into an exit tunnel. He bounced back up, took control of the ball and found Gant for an open 3 and a 59-50 Washington lead.