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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Big 3 dominate

    Arizona juniors Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Nic Wise all scored 20 or more points in the Wildcats 101-87 win over Stanford on Saturday in McKale Center - the last game of the regular season.
    Arizona juniors Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Nic Wise all scored 20 or more points in the Wildcats’ 101-87 win over Stanford on Saturday in McKale Center – the last game of the regular season.

    Arizona 101, Stanford 87

    On the schedule, it was Senior Day. But in reality, it was Junior Day for the Arizona men’s basketball team.

    David Bagga and Fendi Onobun were honored for their four years of service to the Wildcats’ program on Saturday evening, but it was Arizona’s Big Three juniors – Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Nic Wise – who were the reason for the UA’s 101-87 win over Stanford (17-12, 6-12 Pacific 10 Conference) in McKale Center, despite a downpour of 3-pointers from the Cardinal.

    The juniors combined to score 75 of Arizona’s points in the final regular season game, which may very well be the last game in McKale Center for Budinger and Hill, who are projected to be first-round picks in June’s NBA Draft.

    Budinger matched a season-high 28 points to go with five rebounds and five assists. Wise scored 27 points on 9-for-9 shooting and dished out nine assists. Hill netted 20 and pulled down eight boards.

    “”All three of us played well tonight,”” Budinger said. “”We all stepped up for our team. Nic was the head of the dog tonight. He played tremendously, didn’t force the issue, found guys when they were open, and really just led us.””

    With the win, Arizona (19-12, 9-9 Pac-10) matched its win total from last season, when the Wildcats went to the NCAA Tournament and lost in the first round.

    Arizona shot the lights out, making 35-of-50 shots (70 percent) from the floor, and led by as many as 16 points in the game.

    “”If we should shoot 70 percent and score 101 (every game), I’d predict national championship right now,”” said UA interim head coach Russ Pennell. “”But that’s very unusual in basketball to be able to do that.””

    Still, the Wildcats couldn’t quite pull away from Stanford.

    The Cardinal made 15-of-33 shots from beyond the arc, led by Jeremy Green’s 6-for-10 shooting from long range. Green paced his team with 22 points off the bench.

    At one point in the first half, 15 of 17 Cardinal points were made from 3-point land.

    “”Every time somebody hits that many 3s, my e-mail triples,”” Pennell said.

    Added Budinger: “”Stanford made some nice shots, but I thought they were tough shots as well.””

    The Wildcats came out of halftime scoring five straight points, but the Cardinal retaliated with a 10-0 run -ÿwhich included two 3s -ÿthat cut their deficit to 55-49.

    Then the Wildcats responded with an 11-2 run of their own, shifting the score to 66-54 at the 13:03 mark.

    With 2:38 left, Wise unselfishly tossed the ball to Hill in the lane, setting up a one-handed dunk that gave Hill his final points of the game and put each of the Big Three at 20 points or higher. The Wildcats went ahead 88-76 on the slam and never looked back.

    “”I was very proud of the way we came out today, especially after Thursday’s loss (to California),”” Pennell said. “”To me, that’s one of the best characteristics of this team.””

    And no doubt, the performance from Arizona’s Big Three has been the most constant characteristic from this team, something they’ll try to build on as the postseason approaches.

    “”We knew that we were just playing for each other,”” Budinger said.

    And 1

    Arizona is now 9-0 when scoring 80 points or more.

    No. 5 Arizona vs. No. 4 ASU

    Thursday, noon

    Staples Center

    Los Angeles

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