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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Embarrassment

    UA head coach Lute Olson cant bear to watch his team as freshman Nic Wise, right, coordinator of basketball operations Jesse Murmeys, near left, associate head coach Jim Rosborough, middle left, and assistant coach Josh Pastner, far left, look on. Olsons squad lost 92-64 to No. 4 North Carolina Saturday afternoon and has lost five of its last seven games.
    UA head coach Lute Olson can’t bear to watch his team as freshman Nic Wise, right, coordinator of basketball operations Jesse Murmeys, near left, associate head coach Jim Rosborough, middle left, and assistant coach Josh Pastner, far left, look on. Olson’s squad lost 92-64 to No. 4 North Carolina Saturday afternoon and has lost five of its last seven games.

    An embarrassment. That’s how Jawann McClellan described the disastrous Saturday afternoon for No. 17 Arizona.

    In what was the biggest non-conference home game in years, the Wildcats (14-6, 5-4 Pacific 10 Conference) suffered their biggest home loss in the Lute Olson era, falling 92-64 to No. 4 North Carolina (19-2)in front of a sold-out McKale Center.

    “”It was embarrassing to all the fans supporting us and getting there, and I apologize to the fans for coming and putting all that embarrassment on them,”” McClellan said.

    The Wildcats’ bricklaying was a textbook lesson of how not to make shots. They shot a season low 33.9 percent and made 1-of-23 3-pointers.

    During a timeout in the middle of the second half, Olson walked out onto the court and stared up at the bottom of the hoop. While his original intent was to complain about the position of the defender on a charging call against forward Jordan Hill, Olson said his action was also indicative of his team’s shooting struggles.

    “”It was a combination of is there a lid on this thing, but then also I don’t quite think you should call a charge on somebody if you’re standing directly under the rim,”” he said.

    When they weren’t missing, the Wildcats were turning the ball over, 20 times in the game. Senior point guard Mustafa Shakur had a career-high eight turnovers while his counterpart, UNC guard Tywon Lawson had a game-high 18 points and eight assists, against only one turnover.

    Arizona turned the ball over on four of its first five possessions, throwing the ball to anyone but the guys wearing the same colored jerseys.

    UA forward Ivan Radenovic, who shot 3-of-12 from the field and missed three of nine free throws, (he’s a 95 percent free throw shooter in Pac-10 play) threw the first turnover to the North Carolina bench on the Wildcats’ first possession. Shakur followed with a behind-the-back pass to the photographers on the baseline, forward Marcus Williams threw a pass that whisked by the heads of the cheerleaders, and McClellan’s pass stopped in the hands of Deon Thompson, who wears North Carolina’s powder blue.

    “”I think we were a little bit too hyped up for the game, but it seemed to taper down,”” said Shakur, who was the only Wildcat to make a 3-pointer.

    North Carolina, who was without second-leading scorer Brandan Wright as well sophomore Marcus Ginyard, both of whom felt ill before the game, had all five starters score in double figures. Forward Tyler Hansbrough scored 14 points but didn’t get his first field goal until the second half.

    Arizona trailed 30-23 in the first half when Williams landed on UNC forward Danny Green’s foot after missing a 3-pointer from the wing. Williams, who was diagnosed with a sprained right ankle, had to be carried off by McClellan and Shakur

    The Tar Heels scored on the other end, beginning a 13-2 run into halftime, where the Tar Heels held a 43-25 lead.

    Williams, who tested his ankle on the court during the under 16-minute timeout, returned but was visibly hampered by the injury. He played under a six-minute stint before being taken out for good, but Olson said he would be “”ready”” for Thursday’s game against No. 20 Washington State.

    “”Marcus obviously is one of our best players and one of our best scorers, so his points mean a lot to us, and without him, we couldn’t score,”” Radenovic said.

    Williams scored four points in 20 minutes. He said he didn’t think the injury was more serious despite not being able to walk off the court under his own power.

    “”This is the same ankle I sprained before,”” he said. “”I knew what it felt like the first time when I was out two weeks and it wasn’t like that. I just felt a tweak and I couldn’t get up and walk immediately.””

    Arizona would get no closer than 13 points in the second half at 50-37 as forward Chase Budinger asserted himself. Budinger, who played the first five minutes of the first half before picking up his second foul and sitting the rest of the half, scored all of his 16 points in the second half.

    The Tar Heels answered, however, with 11 unanswered points and took a 61-37 lead. They scored 42 points in the paint and shot 51.3 percent from the field, including 56.8 percent in the second half.

    “”I don’t remember anyone playing better against us ever, but on the other hand I don’t remember us playing worse against anybody either,”” Olson said.

    Budinger’s foul troubles allowed fellow freshman Hill to pick up where he left off last Wednesday against ASU. Hill scored 10 points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds in 20 minutes and shot 5-of-7 from the field.

    “”The one thing you can take positively out of this game is Jordan Hill is emerging as a great player,”” McClellan said. “”I told him after the game, he doesn’t need to hold his head down about anything because he played good. The people that should feel bad are players like me and seniors and everybody else who was supposed to step up to the plate and didn’t.””

    One of the seniors, Radenovic, had a miserable stretch to end the first half. He missed the front end of two one and ones, missed a lay-up that didn’t hit the backboard and turned the ball over in under two minutes to end the first half.

    “”I can’t really attribute it to anything, it was just that kind of a game today,”” Radenovic said. “”Lack of focus, maybe that I’m a little tired.””

    Olson didn’t have much attribution for Arizona’s poor play either. After the game, Olson said he was forced to ponder “”Who is this out there?””

    “”There’s nothing to say other than that North Carolina was great and we were awful and too bad because the stakes were set for everyone to really enjoy a great basketball game,”” he added. “”It was not a great basketball game, it was a great team playing against someone who looked like (it) was trying to do everything wrong.””

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