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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cats put Carolina behind them

    Not many good things came from Arizona’s 92-64 loss to North Carolina Saturday. One of them is that the Wildcats don’t feel they can play much worse than their 20-turnover, 33.9-percent shooting, 1-of-23 3-point shooting performance.

    “”Unfortunately everyone had their worst game on the same night,”” said senior guard Mustafa Shakur. “”We look at it as a way for everybody to rebound. With the games coming up I’m very excited, and my teammates are (too) because we can turn things around. I’m looking forward to that.””

    Shakur said he was still thinking about Arizona’s shooting performance – easily their worst of the season and 15 percent below their average from the field – when he went to bed Saturday night.

    “”I don’t have the answer for that one,”” he said. “”There’s not an easy answer. We shot terrible, beyond terrible.””

    UA head coach Lute Olson won’t cause any of his players to have nightmares, though, since he won’t be showing the game film as a whole. In fact, Olson said he hadn’t looked at the tape himself as of yesterday.

    Shakur also pointed out that if the Wildcats had made just five more of their 3-point field goals – which would still be a pretty bad 26 percent from that distance – that would have given Arizona 15 more points and would possibly have put them back in the game, if some of those shots had given them the momentum to make a run.

    For now, forward Chase Budinger said he wants to put the game completely behind him.

    “”You don’t want to look at a game like that negatively because you don’t want it to stay in your mind,”” he said. “”You try to take the positives out of it and use it as motivation for the games to come.””

    Tangara expected to miss three weeks, will return with face mask

    Olson expects forward Mohamed Tangara to miss about three weeks after suffering a sinus fracture when he was elbowed by teammate Jordan Hill in Wednesday’s game against ASU.

    “”It was pretty scary. It was bleeding,”” Tangara said. “”It felt like my head exploded.””

    Olson said Tangara will need to wear a mask when he returns, which differs from what he originally thought Friday.

    Tangara had just played a season-high five minutes at the time of the injury.

    “”My career, it’s not over,”” Tangara said. “”But it’s frustrating to get hurt all the time.””

    Tangara had originally wanted to take some pain killers and return to the floor, but at halftime, team trainer Justin Kokoskie made him go to University Medical Center, where he eventually had surgery to put a titanium plate in his head Friday.

    Usually the one who dishes out the elbows, Tangara was on the receiving end this time from his own teammate, but he said he harbors no ill will toward Hill.

    “”He apologized, he’s a good guy,”” Tangara said. “”He was sorry.””

    Williams likely to play Thursday

    The Wildcats are expected to be at full strength when Washington State comes calling Thursday, Olson said.

    Olson expects Williams to be ready to play after spraining his ankle Saturday against North Carolina, but he said more will be known in the next couple of days.

    Forward Bret Brielmaier, who played seven minutes Saturday in his first action since hurting his right knee Jan. 4 before a game against Washington, will also be available after having natural soreness after the UNC game.

    Wildcats barely fall in rankings

    Even though the losses continue to pile through Arizona’s streak of five losses in seven games, the Wildcats’ fall in the standings has not been too steep. Arizona dropped from No. 17 to No. 20 after losing by 28 to now-No. 3 North Carolina Saturday.

    The Wildcats have dropped 13 spots from their season high of No. 7, when they were 11-1 and riding an 11-game winning streak four weeks ago.

    Four Pac-10 teams join Arizona in the rankings: No. 5 UCLA, No. 9 Oregon, Thursday’s opponent No. 18 Washington State and No. 23 Stanford, who joined the rankings for the first time this season after upsetting the Bruins Sunday. USC, who joined the rankings for the first time last week at No. 25, fell out after losing to the Cardinal Thursday.

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