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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Arizona blows big lead, falls to Virginia”

    It was the frenetic, fast paced tempo Arizona envisioned, but far from the result it had imagined.

    After blowing a 19 point lead in the first half, the No.10 men’s basketball team gave up 57 second half points in a 93-90 opening season loss to Virginia Sunday at a sold-out John Paul Jones Arena in Charottesville, Va.

    J.P. Prince who entered the game for the first time with eight seconds left to play, missed a last second desperation 3-pointer to seal the deal but the Wildcats (0-1) let Virginia (1-0) right back in the game after taking a 45-26 lead in the first half.

    With Virginia leading 92-90, Reynolds missed his first free throw after being fouled by Mustafa Shakur, who fouled out on the play as eight seconds remained. The Wildcats chose not to call a timeout despite having two at their disposal and in-bounded the ball to Wise who dribbled into the front- court before finding Prince for the 3-pointer, which clanged off the rim.

    “”At that point, you want to get it down where they don’t have an opportunity to discuss what they’re going to do,”” UA head coach Lute Olson said by phone Sunday night. “”We’re not going to call a timeout in that situation, we got a great look at it and we just didn’t make the shot.””

    Mamadi Diane and Sean Singletary each scored 25 points for Virginia who nursed a 89-83 lead that was cut in half by senior forward Ivan Radenovic’s 3-pointer with 1:23 left.

    With 26 seconds left, Virginia senior guard J.R. Reynolds fell down and lost the ball as junior guard Jawann McClellan picked it up, but McClellan drove the lane and whipped a pass to Radenovic that was stolen as it hit his hands, forcing Arizona to foul.

    “”I was disappointed with a couple of free break situations where we had people open and we didn’t get the ball to them,”” Olson said. “”You convert a couple of those that should have been converted, it’s a different game.””

    The Cavaliers scrambled back with an 18-9 run to tie the game at 68 for the first time since the game was tied at 14. Radenovic, who led the Wildcats with 24 points, scored seven of Arizona’s next nine points to push the lead to 77-72, but Reynolds made a free throw and senior Jason Cain scored a on a dunk and a put back to tie the game, starting a 14-5 run to take an 86-82 lead.

    Diane scored seven of his points in the final 5:51 including a banked in 3-pointer from the top of the arc to give Virginia its first lead of the game since early in the first half at 80-79. After McClellan’s 3-pointer to take an 82-80 lead, Arizona would not lead again.

    “”They started hitting threes and they were in bonus just over five minutes into the second half,”” Olson said. “”They were able to take us off the dribble and create a lot of openings.””

    The Cavaliers made nine of 12 free throws in the last 4:10 and sophomore forward Marcus Williams fouled out with 2:56 left to play on an off-ball foul to make matters worse for Arizona.

    Williams and McClellan each had 18 points while freshman Chase Budinger scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half.

    Mustafa Shakur, who played just 28 minutes was also in foul trouble, picking up his third early in the second half. The senior point guard didn’t score until four minutes went by in the second half and totaled five points and six assists for the game, shooting 0-for-5 from the field.

    Virginia began to hack away at the lead at the end of the first half closing Arizona’s biggest lead of 45-26 with a 10-4 run. The Cavaliers then cut the 13- point half-time lead to 53-48 before McClellan knocked down a 3-pointer to stop the bleeding. Senior guard Reynolds who didn’t start and was ineffective in the first half after being poked in the eye in Wednesday’s practice, scored 10 points in the second half after shedding his goggles and playing with swelling around his eye.

    After Virginia opened a 10-4 lead to start the game, Arizona took off on a 20-6 run, building a 30-16 lead. Radenovic scored the first six points of the run, making a free throw, a 3-pointer and a lay-up.

    Several possessions later, with Virginia leading 14-12, Budinger made a corkscrew lay-up and 3-pointer to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game.

    “”The problem is not offense,”” Olson said. “”It’s just that we have to have everyone step up defensively. Offensively we’re fine, but we need to do a better job of stopping them without fouling.””


    Michael Buffer started the festivities before the game with his famous ‘Are you Ready to Rumble’ line at center court.

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