The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

48° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Clawing back from the brink

    UA forwards Chase Budinger, left, and Jordan Hill share a lighthearted moment in the closing seconds of a 83-76 Wildcat win Thursday night in McKale Center. The two juniors combied for 37 points and 11 rebounds as Arizona won its fifth-straight game in Pacific 10 Conference play.
    UA forwards Chase Budinger, left, and Jordan Hill share a lighthearted moment in the closing seconds of a 83-76 Wildcat win Thursday night in McKale Center. The two juniors combied for 37 points and 11 rebounds as Arizona won its fifth-straight game in Pacific 10 Conference play.

    It only takes 15 minutes for the Arizona men’s basketball team to recharge. Ironically enough, halftime is 15 minutes long. That seemed to be all that was needed, though, thanks to a huge energy boost from Nic Wise.

    After leading by as much as 18 points in the first half, thanks to a scorching start on the offensive end, the Wildcats (17-8, 7-5 Pacific 10 Conference) found themselves down by as many as 8 points in the second half before coming back to beat USC (15-8, 6-5) 83-76 on Thursday night in McKale Center before 14,728 – the third-largest crowd in the arena’s history.

    “”This might be one of our most rewarding wins, and the reason I feel that way is because of how we had a lead and lost it, but then just had the resolve to come back and play as tough as we did and get the win at the end,”” said UA interim head coach Russ Pennell. “”I thought it was a great character win for our team, and I’m just extremely proud of them.””

    After the game was tied at 61, 66, 70, 74, and 76 down the stretch, Wise fooled USC guard Daniel Hackett with a pump fake – a move he said he learned from working out with former Wildcat Damon Stoudamire – and made a 3-pointer that gave Arizona a 79-76 lead with 43.8 seconds left.

    Arizona tacked on four more points to win their sixth-straight game, including their fifth-straight conference game, marking the longest Pac-10 win streak by any team in the conference.

    “”When you see a little guy about to shoot, guys have a tendency to want to block their shot when they jump,”” said Wise, who scored a game-high 27 points on 8-for-11 shooting. “”(Hackett) bit on it and I got an open look.””

    With just seconds left on the clock, Wise picked up a loose ball on the defensive end and tossed it up as time expired. He smiled and looked out at the Zona Zoo section.

    “”That’s right,”” he said on the court. “”That’s right.””

    With four assists, three rebounds and two steals, Wise has a solid all-around performance to complement Chase Budinger’s 25 points. With 3:20 left, Wise stole the ball at half court and made a layup to tie the game at 74, sparking an 11-2 run to end the game.

    Wise compared the game to his days in high school when he was a clutch player down the stretch out of necessity. Pennell said the point guard’s performance was enhanced by his fearlessness.

    “”In order to be a clutch player you’ve got to be willing to take big shots regardless of the outcome,”” Pennell said, “”and Nic’s not one to be intimidated.””

    Wise scored 11 points in the final 5:38. He said his intense effort against the Trojans may have something to do with USC guard Dwight Lewis, who scored a team-high 21 points.

    The guards have known each other since middle school, and Lewis moved near Wise in Houston when his Louisiana home was hit by Hurricane Katrina.

    Wise also took to heart the play at USC last month when he was called for an intentional foul for pulling Lewis down to the floor -ÿa play that put the Trojans at the line and helped them win by a point.

    “”We’re still close, even thought I didn’t like it,”” Wise said of the foul. “”This game, I took more of a challenge to get revenge.””

    And 1

    UA forward Jordan Hill registered 12 points and five rebounds in 39 minutes of play. Pennell said Hill tweaked both ankles in the game. …

    Kyle Fogg scored 13 points for Arizona, making 3-of-5 3-pointers in the process.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search