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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Nova’s Wildcats win

    Novas Wildcats win

    PHILADELPHIA – Arizona Wildcat defenders will be seeing Randy Foye and Allan Ray in their nightmares after the Villanova senior guards’ performances last night at the Wachovia Center.

    Foye’s array of step-back jumpers, picture perfect 3-pointers and forays into the lane and Ray’s clutch free-throw shooting and second-half outburst held off Arizona 82-78.

    “”When they made their run, we made our run. It was so close,”” said senior guard Hassan Adams, who scored 20 points. “”We chipped it down, and they came down and they’d get a shot or get a foul. It seemed like we couldn’t get over that hump.””

    Foye scored 20 points before halftime as Arizona failed to show the shooting strokes it exhibited in its first round romp over Wisconsin. When freshman forward Marcus Williams locked up Foye, Ray took over, scoring 20 points after halftime, including four crucial free throws in the last 14.2 seconds.

    “”Their style of play is like back playing on the playground, that’s how it felt when I was out there,”” said junior point guard Mustafa Shakur. “”They just spread the floor and one guy does what he does.””

    The biggest shot of the game may have come with 1:09 left to play and Arizona down 76-74. Foye, who made the only field goal in the second half prior to the possession, got past sophomore guard Daniel Dillon and banked in a floating leaner to make it a two-possession game.

    “”I cut off his left hand, channeled him to the right side, doubled him in the corner and he got a shot off over (junior forward) Ivan (Radenovic),”” Dillon said. “”There’s nothing more I could have done about that.””

    “”That was a hell of a shot,”” added Arizona associate head coach Jim Rosborough.

    Villanova took its largest lead of the game, 47-35, with 18:32 remaining in the second half. At that point Williams grabbed an offensive rebound and netted a layup as he drew the foul for the 3-point play. Shakur then made one of his four 3-pointers without a miss, cutting the lead back to six at 47-41.

    Arizona battled back the entire night, never leading at any point in the game.

    “”I thought we played as well as we could play,”” said Arizona head coach Lute Olson. “”Credit has to go to Villanova for just having that little extra.””

    Said Ray: “”Every time we made a run, they had an answer for it.””

    But Villanova had answers of its own, and Ray was the second-half answer, making three second-half 3-pointers, some on step-back moves and over defenders.

    “”They were taking tough shots, shooting over us, double-clutching off the glass,”” said Williams, who scored a tournament-high 24 for Arizona. “”They would drive and push off. It’s kind of hard to defend when it’s a push-off situation.””

    For Arizona, Shakur may have played better than even his first round tournament game. His Philadelphia homecoming carried him to a 21-point, five-assist performance, including 7-of-11 from the field for the often-streaky perimeter shooter.

    “”He played flawless as a point guard,”” Williams said.

    Arizona had plenty of chances to take the lead in both halves, but once they cut the deficit to three points, the Wildcats became mistake prone.

    “”It was about one rebound, one turnover, those little things,”” Radenovic said.

    After a Shakur 3-pointer cut the lead to 60-57, junior forward Will Sheridan had an easy slam dunk off of a Ray assist. On the following possession, Radenovic, who couldn’t get going offensively, traveled.

    Foye then drove the lane – as the Villanova guards were able to do all game – and made a short 8-foot jump shot. Arizona inbounded quickly and made an outlet pass to Dillon, who put up a layup which freshman forward Dante Cunningham rejected off the backboard.

    “”That play was really important for us,”” Radenovic said. “”He got fouled plus it was a goaltending, so it was probably a 3-point play which would put us in a different position.””

    Said Dillon: “”I thought it was going in, but then I looked back and he had it pinned against the backboard, but I thought it was a goaltend and the bench thought it was a goaltend.””

    The officials thought otherwise, and before 15 seconds could pass, Ray had himself another 3-pointer and Villanova had an eight-point lead.

    “”We needed one more defensive (stand), but we just couldn’t do it,”” Radenovic. “”Lots of his buckets came from the penetration, and the post guy had to help, and they dished the pass inside.””

    Each time Arizona tied the game, at 10 and at 28, Villanova ran off runs to lead by eight points. Each time Foye would start the run and break Arizona’s spirit.

    Tied at 14, Foye knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing. Tied at 28, Foye knocked down two 3-pointers.

    “”Coach called our number, and every time he called our number we just tried to make a play,”” Foye said of himself and Ray.

    As for Arizona, great looks weren’t enough. Arizona shot 43 percent from the field and just 29 percent from 3-point range. Like the rest of the season, the final game came to something as simple as making shots and Arizona did not.

    “”We got great looks, a lot of wide open ones, and they just didn’t fall,”” Shakur said.

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