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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Smooth’ helps rocky outing

    Arizona forward Marcus Williams dives for a loose ball in Arizonas 72-66 win over Oregon State last night in Corvallis, Ore. Williams finished with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range.
    Arizona forward Marcus Williams dives for a loose ball in Arizona’s 72-66 win over Oregon State last night in Corvallis, Ore. Williams finished with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range.

    CORVALLIS, Ore. – Marcus Williams’ outside shooting has not been representative of his nickname this year – smooth.

    But last night against Oregon State, the sophomore’s slick shooting helped the No. 24 Wildcats (16-7, 7-5 Pacific 10 Conference) barely put away the lowly Beavers (9-16, 1-11) 72-66 in front of 5,928 in Gill Coliseum.

    “”We really feel like we should have blew this team out,”” junior Jawann McClellan said.

    OSU cut the lead to 66-64 in the second half, but McClellan and forward Ivan Radenovic each made two free throws bracketing a Beaver turnover to put the game away.

    Williams, who had been shooting 28.8 percent from 3-point range made 8-of-12 shots from the field en route to 23 points, his highest total since Jan. 14 vs. Oregon. Seven of his eight made field goals were jump shots, including three 3-pointers without a miss. When OSU got within 64-60, Williams knocked down a jumper. When the Beavers trailed 59-55, Williams made a 3.

    “”I felt like I was shooting the ball well,”” said Williams who’s been shooting for an hour and half either before or after practice for the last two weeks. “”It just feels better out there, everything feels like it’s going on, even if I miss.””

    OSU forward Sasa Cuic who failed to score in his last game at UCLA, kept the Beavers close, scoring a season high 25 points. Playing against his fellow European Radenovic, Cuic shot 9-of-12 from the field in his first start in the last three games.

    “”He always talks to me it’s always fun to play against him,”” Radenovic said. “”Tonight it wasn’t really because he was on fire though, but it’s usually fun to play against him.””

    OSU, which ranks dead last in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting, saw its struggles continue, but it wasn’t as much the Beavers shooting percentage (6-of-8) as their lack of attempts.

    Radenovic, who scored 19 points, made more free throws than the Beavers tried, going 13-of-16.

    “”I knew that they couldn’t guard me so pretty much I tried to penetrate every time I got the ball and I got them in foul trouble,”” Radenovic said. “”I missed a couple of them but most of them I made. I was ready to be aggressive and attack the lane.””

    All season, Arizona has lived by two trends: win big or lose small. The Wildcats have not won by less than seven points and have not lost by more than seven, with the exception of North Carolina.

    The six-point win was Arizona’s first win by less than seven points all season. The Wildcats previously beat Louisville 72-65 by that margin Dec. 5 in Madison Square Garden.

    “”We’re just happy to get out of here with a win,”” UA head coach Lute Olson said.

    After OSU tied the game at 45 with back-to-back 3s from Cuic and freshman Josh Tarver, the Wildcats outscored the Beavers 17-8 in the next capped by a Williams’ three.

    “”I thought Marcus played one of the best games he’s played in terms of letting the game come to him,”” Olson said.

    Arizona never trailed in the first half but didn’t wander away until the last four minutes when the Wildcats went on an 8-0 run to take a 36-28 halftime lead.

    “”We felt it would be important to get off to a good start, we didn’t get off to a good start,”” Olson said. “”We made a number of really bad turnovers early, that gave them a jump start on us.””

    Forward Jordan Hill turned in what has now become a workman-like performance for him with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

    Senior Mustafa Shakur, who played with a sprained right ankle – “”It was bothering me a little but once I got my adrenaline going I was fine”” – scored six points, dished out seven assists and had six steals.

    Shakur, who didn’t practice all week, had his ankle wrapped up in a “”cold compression boot”” on the two-hour flight.

    And 1
    The OSU band came “”optimistically dressed”” as the public address announcer put it. Some members wore Hawaiian shirts while one female donned a bikini.

    But at the start of the game, she put on an orange Beaver shirt. Maybe she, like the Beavers free throw shooting, was cold.

    Kyle Jeffers, who allegedly spit on a fan in McKale Center was in the lineup and had thirteen rebounds

    OSU guard Wesley Washington fouled out with 15:38 left in the second half.

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