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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Fifth-degree burn

    UA forward Jordan Hill goes up for a floater in Thrusdays loss to ASU in Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Wildcats were bounced from the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament.
    UA forward Jordan Hill goes up for a floater in Thrusday’s loss to ASU in Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Wildcats were bounced from the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament.

    LOS ANGELES -ÿJordan Hill sprawled his 6-foot-10 frame across four folding chairs inside of the Arizona men’s basketball team’s Staples Center locker room.

    With both arms extended above his head, he spoke softly and slowly, sighing deeply at times.

    Though it was nearly 500 miles away, it seemed as if the entire Tucson community sighed, too.

    No. 4 seed ASU beat No. 5 seed Arizona 68-56 in the quarterfinals of the Pacific 10 Conference on Thursday, slimming the Wildcats’ chances of making its 25th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

    “”We fought hard,”” said Hill, who paced the Wildcats with 20 points and 13 rebounds. “”They fought hard, too, just like us. We tried to give it all we got to get the win. We just didn’t come up with it.””

    This wasn’t just a disheartening loss to the Sun Devils because of the team’s rivalry. It was the first Pac-10 Tournament win for ASU (23-8, 12-7 Pac-10) since 2002. For Arizona (19-13, 9-10), it was the third loss to the Sun Devils this season, and the fifth straight overall.

    There was a different motive this time, though. It didn’t seem like Arizona and ASU wanted to beat each other just to beat their rival. Each squad was trying to make a statement to the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.

    The Wildcats weren’t able to do so with its offense.

    Arizona shot 35.5 percent (22-for-62) from the floor; ASU shot 52.1 percent (25-for-48).

    UA guard Nic Wise helped Hill with 13 points, but Chase Budinger – who averaged 18.2 points per game coming into Thursday -ÿscored just eight points on 3-for-15 shooting, including 1-for-9 from beyond the arc.

    It was Budinger’s second-lowest scoring output of the season.

    “”Nothing was falling, inside (or) out,”” Budinger said. “”Credit ASU. They do a heck of a job on their defense. They just make it hard for us to get good looks. Everything just wasn’t falling.””

    ASU’s sophomore star James Harden, who has never lost to Arizona, paced his team with 27 points and 8 rebounds.

    “”That boy’s nice. He’s good,”” Hill said of Harden. “”What can I say? He just goes out there and handles his business.””

    Sophomore Jamelle Horne stepped up for the Wildcats early on, scoring eight points and pulling down six rebounds in the first half. He said he has always had faith in Arizona’s regular scorersÿ- Wise, Budinger and Hill – and that it was just an off-night for Budinger.

    “”If we had another game tomorrow, we’d still hope those guys take those same shots,”” Horne said. “”Those guys have been carrying us through certain games this season, and we’re going to continue to ride with them no matter what.””

    Arizona lost to ASU by six points and two points, respectively, in two games earlier this season.

    “”It wasn’t our day,”” Budinger said.

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