TUCSON, Ariz. -- Guard Nick Johnson scored 24 points, forward Aaron Gordon added a double-double, and top-ranked Arizona survived an upset bid, beating Washington 71-62 at McKale Center on Thursday afternoon.
Washington led 35-33 at halftime and held the edge for most of the first 10 minutes of the second half. Gordon had a sequence in which he made a layup, dunked an offensive rebound and threw a bounce pass in transition for a Johnson dunk that gave the Wildcats a 54-51 lead with 9:17 to go.
Arizona (15-0, 2-0 Pac-12) never trailed after that, although the game stayed close throughout.
Johnson's drive and dunk put Arizona up 62-58 with 3:20 to go, and Gordon tipped in a basket on UA's next possession for needed breathing room at 64-58.
It was never a one-possession game after that.
Gordon, a freshman, had 18 points and 11 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season. Johnson, a senior, hit 8 of 18 shots and had four assists.
Arizona's 15-0 start is the best in modern history and the second-best in school history. The 1931-32 team started 16-0; the school counts two victories each over an alumni all-star team and Dixie Junior College.
Washington (9-6, 1-1) was led by senior guard C.J. Wilcox, who scored 20 points. Wilcox, who entered the game second in the Pac-12 in scoring at 20.2 points per game, has scored at least 15 points in 17 consecutive games. Forward Perris Blackwell added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Arizona held Washington State to seven first-half points Thursday night, but the Huskies matched that total in their first four possessions. The Wildcats never led until forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's dunk made it 16-15 with 12:15 to go. They increased that advantage to 27-21 when Johnson threw down a one-handed 360-degree dunk in transition after a steal.
Washington, which attacked the rim and shot 55.6 percent in the first half (15 of 27), used an 8-0 run late in the half to take a 35-33 lead at halftime. But Arizona, which entered the game ranked fifth nationally in field goal percentage defense (36.2), allowed the Huskies to hit just 30.3 percent (10 of 33) in the second half.
Notes: This was the only Arizona-Washington meeting of the regular season in the Pac-12's unbalanced schedule. ... Arizona, which should be No. 1 for the fifth consecutive week when the new polls are released Monday, plays at UCLA on Thursday night. ... Cedric Dempsey, a former Arizona athletic director and executive director of the NCAA, attended the game. ... Washington backup F Shawn Kemp Jr. fouled out with 10:37 to go. He had nine points and three rebounds. ... The Huskies dropped to 2-28 when facing No. 1-ranked teams. ... Arizona has trailed at halftime five times, including previous games against Drexel, Duke, UNLV and Michigan.