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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Arizona stops the bleeding

    Arizona freshman forward Jordan Hill goes for a reverse layup over Washingtons Spencer Hawes during the second half of the Wildcats 84-54 victory against Washington Saturday in McKale Center.
    Arizona freshman forward Jordan Hill goes for a reverse layup over Washington’s Spencer Hawes during the second half of the Wildcats’ 84-54 victory against Washington Saturday in McKale Center.

    Arizona’s wounds have healed – or at least, Saturday’s game put a bandage on them.

    The No. 20 Wildcats beat Washington 84-54 in McKale Center and ended their shooting problems for the time being.

    Arizona (15-7, 6-5 Pacific 10 Conference) made 57.4 percent of its shots to win for just the third time in the last nine games.

    The Wildcats also held Washington (14-8, 4-7) to its second-lowest offensive output of the season, as the Huskies shot 38.1 percent from the field and 15 percent beyond the arc.

    “”We shot the ball so well, and they shot so poorly … We’ve been there so we know,”” said UA head coach Lute Olson.

    Freshman forward Jordan Hill made his third start of the season – this time in place of guard Jawann McClellan – and led Arizona with career highs of 16 points and five blocked shots to go along with eight rebounds.

    “”We shot the ball so well, and they shot so poorly … we’ve been there so we know.””
    – Lute Olson, UA head coach

    Hill’s presence helped Arizona hold Washington’s big men, Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes, to 16 combined points.

    “”He helped a lot because he’s real aggressive on both ends of the floor as far as offensively and defensively, attacking the basket and attacking the shot,”” said forward Marcus Williams, who scored 11 points and dished out six assists in his return to the starting lineup after two games.

    “”He helps a lot by cleaning up mistakes on defense. Obviously, someone gets by to try to have a layup, he doesn’t have to block it. He just gets a hand up.””

    While Hill was scoring inside, forward Chase Budinger and McClellan picked up the slack from the perimeter. Budinger and McClellan each scored 15 points and helped spark a first-half rally that put the game out of reach.

    “”Me and Chase, we always talk about (how) we have to be more aggressive and get our shots to fall, and we did that today,”” said McClellan, who also made six of seven free throws.

    McClellan capped a 13-0 run early in the second half that built Arizona’s lead up to 65-32 with a one-handed tomahawk dunk.

    Budinger’s recent 3-point shooting problems appeared to be driven away as well. Budinger made all three of his 3s in the second half, scoring all but two of his points before halftime.

    “”Shooting is contagious a little bit on both sides,”” Williams said. “”If a lot of people are missing shots, sometimes you just can’t get yourself out of the hole. So Chase came in and knocked one down, (and) Jawann – obviously, we know he can shoot the ball – came in and knocked some down.””

    With Arizona up 17-16 at 10:28 remaining in the first half, McClellan, who came off the bench for the first time this season, spurred a 28-10 end to the half.

    “”He’s really good as far as coming in and being an energy (boost) … not just shooting the basketball but as a person and the type of player that he is.””
    – – Marcus Williams, UA forward, on teammate Jawann McClellan

    The junior made a jumper from the free-throw line, followed by a 3-pointer from his favorite corner spot, scoring 10 points in all during the extended spurt.

    “”He’s really good as far as coming in and being an energy (boost) … not just shooting the basketball but as a person and the type of player that he is,”” Williams said.

    The Wildcats shot over 50 percent in each half, hitting at a 59.3-percent clip in the first followed by a 55.6-percent rate in the second half, making 5-of-12 3-pointers.

    Senior point guard Mustafa Shakur, who was playing with a bad ankle, McClellan said, scored two points but dished out eight assists.

    “”You got to give credit to ‘Staf, fighting through his ankle injury, just being out there and wanting to give it his all,”” McClellan said.

    Olson said he would continue to start Hill and bring McClellan off the bench in future games.

    Coming off the bench may have been a new concept for McClellan this year, but the Houston native said he wasn’t bothered by it at all.

    In fact, he said he hopes Saturday’s lineup becomes a fixture.

    “”You have to put your ego aside, but I told Jordan before the game that I’m ready to step up,”” McClellan said.

    “”You got the emergence of Jordan Hill and you can’t take Ivan out on the offensive end,”” he added.

    McClellan and Olson chatted during the week about McClellan’s role, and Olson told McClellan he had the chance to play the part of Jason Terry.

    Terry gave up his starting spot mid-season to Miles Simon on the 1997 national championship team and wound up winning a national player-of-the-year award as a senior the year after.

    “”We need somebody coming off the bench that’s going to (bring) excitement,”” Olson said. “”We’ve been coming off with Jordan, but he’s not really that kind of kid. I think Jordan, obviously, is a whole lot better if he’s a starter.

    “”Jawann is the kind of guy that he just wants the team to win. He’s going to do whatever it takes for that to happen. I think he’s going to be great in that role.””

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