November 11, 2014

Perhaps even worse than the fact that Arizona is riding a rare losing streak under coach Sean Miller is that its star freshman won't be around to help the team recover.

It's certainly not the way the Wildcats hoped things would be going as they take on surprising Pac-12 leader Washington, though a return home has always served them well.

After losing Allonzo Trier, No. 18 Arizona will try to avoid its first three-game slide in nearly six years by winning its 48th straight at home Thursday night.

The Wildcats (13-3, 1-2) are back in Tucson searching for answers after an 87-84 loss at UCLA last Thursday and a 103-101 quadruple-overtime defeat at USC on Saturday.

Arizona gave up an average of 61.8 points in its first 13 games before letting opponents score 90.7 in conference play.

''In many ways this trip will have great meaning for our future,'' said Miller, whose squad hadn't suffered back-to-back losses since March 2012. ''It's good for our guys to see how we feel when we're not a good defensive team.''

Things got worse for the Wildcats when they learned Trier would be out for at least four weeks after breaking his right hand Saturday. The 6-foot-6 guard, averaging a team-high 14.8 points, was coming into his own with 20 or more in three of his last four games.

"I feel terrible for Allonzo because we've watched him grow since early November and I think he's getting better in all aspects of the game," Miller said.

Gabe York had 21 points and Kaleb Tarczewski added 16 and 12 rebounds against USC. Ryan Anderson, however, hopes to bounce back after finishing with five points on 2-of-7 shooting. The senior forward had averaged 15.5 points over his previous 11.

The Wildcats are happy to be home as they try to avoid their first three-game losing streak since Feb. 13-25, 2010. They've won by an average of 22.2 points during the longest active home winning streak in the nation, which dates to a 77-69 loss to California in February 2013.

That run, though, could be threatened by a young Washington team that has come out of the first two weeks of the Pac-12 schedule in sole possession of first place.

The Huskies (11-4, 3-0) beat then-No. 25 UCLA 96-93 in double overtime on Jan. 1 before rallying from 22 points down to defeat USC 87-85 two days later. They escaped with a 99-95 overtime win at Washington State on Saturday.

"We've played three games and have 15 to go,'' said coach Lorenzo Romar, whose team of mostly freshmen was picked to finish 11th. ''We wouldn't trade it to be 0-3 but there is just so much time. Two weeks have gone by and there are nine weeks.''

Arizona will have to find a way to contain Andrew Andrews, who easily leads the conference with 21.6 points per game. The senior guard has been on a roll, scoring 35 against UCLA, 24 versus USC and 29 against Washington State.

He had 18 points and 11 rebounds in an 86-62 home loss in the only meeting last season. The Huskies have lost the last four in the series and seven of the past eight at Arizona.

''The last few years, we've just been outclassed,'' Romar said.

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