Dominic Green collected a loose ball in the final seconds and made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Washington a 78-75 victory over No. 9 Arizona on Saturday night.
Washington went to freshman Jaylen Nowell with the clock winding down, but his shot was blocked by Arizona star Deandre Ayton. Green grabbed the swatted shot near the Washington bench and beat the buzzer with his fourth 3-pointer of the game.
Green finished with 14 points off the bench and the biggest shot of his career as the Huskies padded an already improving resume for NCAA tournament contention. Noah Dickerson led Washington (17-6, 7-3 Pac-12) with 25 points and David Crisp added 16.
Dusan Ristic scored 21 points for Arizona (19-5, 9-2) and Allonzo Trier had 17 of his 20 in the second half. Ayton was a force on the inside with 19 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, but missed a free throw with 21 seconds left that would have given Arizona the lead.
Arizona had won 16 of 17 and eight straight against Washington. But first-year Huskies coach Mike Hopkins now has a signature moment to go along with a stunning turnaround from last season, when Washington went 9-22.
Nowell has been the main option for Washington in the closing seconds of close games this season and he was able to get into the lane, but Ayton was there to block the attempt. Green had been deadly when given open looks all night and was unmarked on the wing after the defense had collapsed. The basket set off a raucous celebration that included students storming the court.
Washington played inspired from the start and led by as many as 14 early in the second half.
A run by Arizona felt inevitable and it finally arrived. Eight straight points cut Washington's lead to 49-44 after Ristic scored in transition. The run continued with Trier converting a three-point play on another fast break to pull within 50-49 with 11:57 left. Washington was able to stay in front until Parker Jackson-Cartwright got to the rim on a second-chance opportunity and his three-point play pulled Arizona even again at 61-all with 7:05 left.
Ayton's jumper on Arizona's next possession pushed the Wildcats in front for the first time and the teams exchanged the lead six more times over the next three minutes. Ristic scored off a nice feed from Trier to put the Wildcats up 69-68 and after Nowell missed a challenged shot in the lane Ristic scored on the low block and Arizona led 71-68 with 2:22 remaining.
Dickerson and Trier exchanged free throws and Green's corner 3 with 1:19 left pulled the Huskies even at 73-all. It turned out not to be the most important 3-pointer he'd make.
Current Arizona assistant coach Lorenzo Romar made his first return to Washington, where he was the head coach for 15 seasons before being fired last March following a 9-22 season. Romar was greeted with a standing ovation and chants of "Romar" when he took the court with the rest of the Arizona coaching staff minutes before tipoff. Washington also showed a brief video of Romar's accomplishments during pregame introductions.
Arizona: The Wildcats inability to get anything from behind the 3-point line was huge. Arizona was 2 of 12 on 3s after entering the game shooting 40 percent from deep.
Washington: The Huskies employed a similar defensive strategy to their win over Kansas in December. Washington was willing to let the Wildcats shoot 15-footers but challenged 3-point attempts and shots down low. The strategy worked in the first half when the Wildcats shot just 36 percent. But Ayton started knocking down the free-throw line jumpers in the second half to help the Wildcats rally.
Arizona: The Wildcats return home to face UCLA next Thursday.
Washington: The Huskies travel to Oregon next Thursday.