Derrick Williams (left)
Regardless of the seeds, No. 1 Arizona versus No. 3 Washington in the Pac-10 Conference Tournament championship game feels appropriate. No disrespect to UCLA, but for most of the season these teams were the best in the league.
Their first game – an 85-68 UW victory on Jan. 20 at Hec Ed – wasn’t much of a contest. The Huskies overwhelmed the Wildcats with hustle plays and dominant performances from Isaiah Thomas (22 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds), Justin Holiday (22 points) and Bryan-Amaning (18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks).
The second game was a classic. Arizona won 87-86 thanks to a last-second block from Williams. Bryan-Amaning and Williams were sensational. Bryan-Amaning finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, seven blocks, four assists and four steals. With that type of line, you’d think he was the star, but Williams was a little better. The Arizona star had 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Caught up with Bryan-Amaning last night. He shared his thoughts about today’s game.
(Talk to me about facing Arizona in the championship game.) “It’s like the situation we were in with Cal last year. We were 1-1 against them and obviously we want to end the season on a positive note. We won the Pac-10 tourney and we want to defend our title. And they’re the next team in the way so that’s what we got to do, take care of business.”
(How long did the loss against Arizona stick with you?) “We did a good job of bouncing back. We beat Seattle U. Obviously we didn’t finish the Pac-10 right. Obviously we’re upset. I think I was upset the most because I had a good game and it wasn’t enough to get it done. Just being able to have a little sour taste in your mouth because the last time we played them they beat us and you’re only as good as your last game.”
(Excited about playing Williams again?) “He’s a great player. As a competitor you always want to play against great players. I think we did a good job in that battle. You just go out and do everything you can to will our individual teams to win.”
(Does he bring out the best in you?) “You just know that he’s going to be a top five pick. You feel like any game against a guy like that or is that special in nature you know that you’re going to have to bring your best. If you then you’re going to get embarrassed pretty much.”
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