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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “What the Duck?: No. 15 Oregon 79, No. 10 Arizona 77”

    Oregons Aaron Brooks drains the game-winning shot over Arizonas Chase Budinger, left, and Mustafa Shakur during the closing seconds of Sunday nights game in McKale Center. Brooks, who tied the game with a 3-pointer minutes earlier, finished with 21 points.
    Oregon’s Aaron Brooks drains the game-winning shot over Arizona’s Chase Budinger, left, and Mustafa Shakur during the closing seconds of Sunday night’s game in McKale Center. Brooks, who tied the game with a 3-pointer minutes earlier, finished with 21 points.

    On most nights, Marcus Williams’ career-high 34-point performance would have sufficed for Arizona to win.

    But this wasn’t most nights.

    Williams’ neighborhood pal, Aaron Brooks, scored 21 points and made a runner off the glass with two seconds left to propel No. 15 Oregon to a 79-77 victory Sunday night in McKale Center, giving the Ducks their first ever sweep of the Arizona schools.

    Williams’ fadeaway jumper from the right baseline hit the front rim at the final buzzer, and the No. 10 Wildcats (13-3, 4-2 Pacific 10 Conference) lost at home for the first time since last year’s regular-season finale against Washington.

    “”Both teams played good enough to win, but we just came up short,”” said the forward Williams.

    Brooks celebrated his 22nd birthday in style, leading Oregon (16-1,4-1 Pac-10) back from a 77-72 deficit with three minutesremaining. After two Bryce Taylor free throws, Brooks made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 77 with 1:54 left.

    Arizona could have taken the lead on its possession, but guard Mustafa Shakur drove the lane and couldn’t connect on a pass to forward Ivan Radenovic.

    “”I thought I clearly had Ivan, and the guy just got over. It was my mistake,”” said Shakur, who finished with 21 points and six assists.

    Brooks,a senior from Seattle, is no stranger to taking big shots against high-ranked opponents with the game on the line. Brooks made a game-winning jumper with 13 seconds left to beat then-No. 1 UCLA on Jan. 6.

    This time, Brooks ran off a high screen from Maarty Leunen, drove right past Shakur and floated the ball high off the backboard over Williams and Radenovic, who had stepped over to help.

    “”He’s made some great decisions, and he’s hit some big shots, and he’s hit that shot time and time again for us,”” Oregon head coach Ernie Kent said of Brooks.

    UA head coach Lute Olson pointed to Shakur’s turnover and a missed lay-up by Radenovic just before the Wildcats’ final possession as crucial instances where Arizona didn’t do the necessary things to win.

    “”There were a couple of them in a row after we got ahead … We didn’t really get what we wanted on either one of those two,”” he said.

    The loss overshadowed the best game of Williams’ career. He also grabbed 12 rebounds and made all 10 of his free throws while playing 39 minutes.

    “”I felt I played pretty well, but, obviously, with the loss you don’t feel it at all,”” Williams said.

    Williams did, however, have a gut feeling that Brooks’ shot was going in as he saw the ball fly through the air.

    “”I had a small feeling it was going in,”” Williams said. “”It just looked good, but we got a good shot at the other end, and we executed well (but) just came up short.””

    Williams said he had a similar feeling about his own shot after releasing it with one second left, but as the ball went off his fingertips, he had a different thought.

    “”One second left, you don’t really have a choice, and I thought it was going in at first,”” he said, “”I kind of felt it short coming off my fingers, but I would take it again.””

    While Williams shined, freshman Chase Budinger scored a career-low four points on 2-of-7 shooting, including 0-of-3 on 3-pointers.

    Notorious for having relatively poor games when he misses his first shot, Budinger’s first two attempts came up way short.

    Budinger has averaged 17.1 points in the 11 games in which he made his initial shot attempt, compared to 12.4 in the five games he hasn’t.

    Budinger insisted he hasn’t hit a midseason wall and that his struggles Sunday were more mental than physical. But he said he realizes he needs to be more “”assertive.””

    “”It’s frustrating when you lose a game,”” he said. “”Knowing that I didn’t play very well … it’s very frustrating.””

    The Wildcats were down for most of the second half, but Oregon never led by more than six.

    With the score 55-49, Arizona quickly rallied with a 7-0 run capped by a Shakur 3-point play.

    Oregon soon regained the lead and was ahead 68-65 before Arizona made a final push.

    Guard Jawann McClellan, who had 12 points, made two free throws to cut the deficit to one. Then Williams made a steal and an emphatic dunk, springing the crowd of 14,562 to its feet.

    On the next possession, Budinger blocked Adam Zahn to spur a fast break, and Shakur spun away from the defense and made a lay-up while falling down.

    Williams capped the run with another dunk to give Arizona a 73-68 lead.

    “”We knew the game was going to be a game of runs, and we went back and forth on the runs, but in the end, we just couldn’t make those defensive stops,”” Budinger said. “”When we were up by five points, we couldn’t put together key stops.””

    Oregon held leads of three and four points in the first half and held the Wildcats scoreless for a stretch that neared five minutes, but Arizona answered back each time.

    Williams answered the first lead with a personal 7-0 run, knocking down a jumperand a 3-pointer and finishing it off with a 3-point play to give the Wildcats a 20-15 advantage.

    The second time, Arizona battled back from a 24-20 deficit by outscoring Oregon 10-3 and taking a 30-27 lead.

    Taylor added 21 points for Oregon, Malik Hairston scored 18 and grabbed eight rebounds, and Leunen had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

    In the end, it was Brooks who walked away with a birthday present after playing all 40 minutes.

    “”I’m happy for him with the way he’s playing but, obviously, not so happy with the result of the game,”” Williams said.

    And 1

    Freshman guard Nic Wise did not dress for the second straight game.

    Wise said he could not comment on his situation but that he would be available to play Thursday.

    Sources close to the team, who spoke to the Wildcat on the condition of anonymity, said Wise has settled his academic situation, turning in a paper to complete a fall class.

    Wise said he couldn’t talk about the specifics of his situation until Today.

    About time

    Sunday marked the first time all season the McKale student section sold out.

    Rookie mistake

    Freshman forward Jordan Hill tried to take the ball out after Williams made a free throw in the first half.

    After realizing his mistake, Hill dropped the ball and ran down court.

    – Lance Madden contributed to this report

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