Wildcats end season against complete opposites

Senior guard Hassan Adams throws down a dunk during the second half of Arizonas game against Arizona State on Saturday in McKale Center. Arizona beat ASU 68-47 behind Adams 12 points and four steals. The Wildcats play their last two games of the regular season this week, Thursday against Washington State and Saturday against Washington.

Senior guard Hassan Adams throws down a dunk during the second half of Arizona’s game against Arizona State on Saturday in McKale Center. Arizona beat ASU 68-47 behind Adams’ 12 points and four steals. The Wildcats play their last two games of the regular season this week, Thursday against Washington State and Saturday against Washington.

Roman Veytsman

Washington State has been an enigma this season with two wins against Pac-10 powerhouse and in-state rival No. 14 Washington, and just two other total wins in conference play. One thing Washington and Arizona have in common: both teams play at breakneck speeds, trying to push the ball until the opposing teams’ legs no longer work. Problem is, the Cougars run the shot clock down to about five seconds on every possession and make sure teams like the Wildcats and the Huskies walk up and down the court. After a big win at home against Washington on a Thursday last season, the Wildcats suffered one of their most stunning home losses in recent memory, 70-63, as the Cougars walked away from McKale Center with their first win against Arizona in 38 tries overall. Arizona head coach Lute Olson said this time around he feels much better about playing the Cougars on Thursday before the Huskies on Saturday.

“”It’s a lot tougher when you have that big game, and then maybe the next game isn’t quite as big to you but it’s huge to the team that you’re playing,”” Olson said. “”It’s probably better for us this way.””

Junior forward Ivan Radenovic said the Wildcats learned from last year’s debacle not to take Washington State lightly.

“”We know this year that they beat Washington twice, so that tells us what kind of team we’re going to play,”” Radenovic said.

“”We know we can’t overlook them,”” junior center Kirk Walters added.

Scoring teams to sleep

When Olson walked into the press conference yesterday afternoon, he jokingly asked if anyone dared to catch Washington State’s thrilling second half against Stanford Saturday. The final second-half tally from that game: WSU 15, Stanford 19. The Cougars have held nine opponents this season to 49 points or less. The Wildcats have never scored less than 49 points in the entire series history dating back to 1959.

Hassan back on track

Struggling to find his touch and preaching patience to himself got a little bit old for senior guard Hassan Adams. After two straight games in single-digit scoring, Adams came back with two games reminiscent of the old Adams.

“”When the young man is a senior and he’s gone through four years, there are probably times during the season when you lose your focus a little bit,”” Olson said. “”I think now with the tournaments coming up and with the close of the Pac-10, I’ll be surprised if he’s not totally focused on everything that we’re doing now.””

The senior guard scored 23 against Stanford and then had a well-rounded game against ASU with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.

“”The good thing is that he’s going to the boards, he’s defending, he’s being selective in terms of his shots,”” Olson said. “”I think he’s using his ability to take the ball to the basket and create opportunities. I think he’ll be right on everything for the rest of the year.””

Adams said he expects to have 10-15 friends and family members come to Tucson for the games this week, his last two in McKale.

Mo’ Mohamed

Redshirt freshman forward Mohamed Tangara played six minutes Saturday in a game during which Olson emptied his entire bench. Tangara scored five points and apparently Olson liked enough of what he saw to entertain the thought of Tangara playing more often.

“”I’m pleased with the development of Mohamed; he’ll get more time this week,”” Olson said. “”He’s gotten to the point where he posts up really well and needs to – just like Kirk Walters – be protective of his fouls.””

Tangara is averaging 1.8 points in 6.6 minutes this year.

Senior Fox may not play again this year

Redshirt senior forward Isaiah Fox has had more than his share of injuries during his five years in an Arizona uniform. If Fox’s back problems continue, Wildcat fans may have seen the last of Fox on the basketball court.

“”With Isaiah right now, the back is really bothering him,”” Olson said. “”We’ll find out more in the next couple of days if there’s something that’s there to keep him from playing.””

Fox missed the road trip to the Bay Area and dressed but did not play against ASU. He grimaced at times during pre-game drills, especially when the Wildcats hit the floor.

“”Right now it’s not possible for him to play,”” Olson said. “”He was out there last week trying to tough it out. After watching for a little bit, I just told him ‘you just can’t be out here and do this’ and take a chance of further injury with it until they find out exactly what the problem is because it’s hung on too long to just be a muscle spasm.””

Radenovic showing off for mom

With his sister and mom in attendance for Saturday’s game against ASU, Radenovic put on a show with 14 points and six steals. It was the first time his mom got to see him play in almost three years, Radenovic said.