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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Quick-moving Ducks overwhelm Wildcats

    Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless dribbles up the court during a 69-50 win over Fresno State Sunday in McKale Center. The Wildcats hit the road for the first time during winter break Wednesday at Nevada-Las Vegas.
    Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless dribbles up the court during a 69-50 win over Fresno State Sunday in McKale Center. The Wildcats hit the road for the first time during winter break Wednesday at Nevada-Las Vegas.


    If Lute and Bobbi Olson Court was a highway, the Oregon men’s basketball team drove the sleek sports car in the fast lane Saturday afternoon in McKale Center. Arizona was left behind in a cloud of Duck dust.

    The No. 21 Wildcats had a three-point lead as late as 6:52 into the game, but Oregon, the team that came to Tucson as the Pacific 10 Conference’s highest scoring team – putting up an average of 83.3 points per game – mashed the pedal to the metal, going up by as much as 19 late in the first half.

    “”We knew that they were gonna come out and do that,”” said UA forward Chase Budinger. “”This is a game that was huge for them because they just lost their last game (to ASU on Thursday). They had to come out here and play big. They just got out here and outran us. We couldn’t get back into transition in the first half and that led to them being up by (19).

    “”We didn’t plan very well and we didn’t prepare ourselves as players,”” Budinger added. “”We knew that they were a run-and-gun team. They got in transition and got easy buckets, easy 3-pointers. We weren’t able to get any stops.””

    The Ducks only had four fast-break points, but they had 16 second-chance points and went 10-for-22 from 3-point land.

    After Oregon scored 48 points in the first half on a scorching 60 percent shooting from the field, Arizona allowed just 36 points on 51.7 percent shooting in the second half.

    The Wildcats caught up to the sleek sports car some toward the end of the first 20 minutes, going on a 12-4 run in the last 4:23 to cut the lead to 48-37 at the half.

    But with such a ghastly first half, you can only do so much.

    “”We didn’t slow them down too much,”” Budinger said. “”We just tried getting back into transition and locking down the halfcourt defense, but it just wasn’t enough.””

    The Ducks went on to win the game 84-74, marking the most points given up by the Wildcats since Arizona’s 92-64 home loss to then-No. 4 North Carolina last January.

    For Oregon, 84 is a bit of a magical number. It has scored that much or higher seven times this season in 14 games, two times less than it did all of last season. The beefed up speed is due in part to the influence of the Phoenix Suns.

    UO head coach Ernie Kent visited McKale Center last October with his staff to observe the fast-paced Suns – who leads the NBA by averaging 109.2 points per game – during their training camp.

    “”I thought that was a great opportunity for us,”” Kent told the Wildcat on Friday in McKale. “”It strengthened us in some things we want to do offensively in there. … We’ve always been like that. I think what that did for us was just reinforce our thought process on what we do offensively.””

    The quickness of each individual Duck contributed to the speed that the team, as a whole, demonstrated.

    Tajuan Porter, a 5-foot-6 guard, was matched up with UA guard Nic Wise for most of the game. Porter grabbed five rebounds, all defensive, and put up nine points – just shy of being Oregon’s fifth player to score in double digits.

    “”Tajuan Porter, he’s even quicker than I am,”” said the 5-foot-9 Wise, Arizona’s shortest and quickest player. “”Because of the size factor, he makes tough matchups for any player.

    “”I just had to pick up my intensity tonight,”” Wise added. “”I didn’t feel like my intensity was up in the first half. I tried to pick it up in the second half, but it was too little, too late.””

    UO’s only starting forward, 6-foot-9 Maarty Leunen, was matched up with Arizona forwardJordan Hill, who said he wasn’t used to playing perimeter players.

    “”They are a quick team,”” Hill said. “”And Maarty, he’s pretty quick for a big man.””

    UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill agreed that the Wildcats were overmatched as far as quickness goes.

    “”We’re not a particularly quick team,”” he said. “”Let’s face it. We’re not a blazing-fast team by any stretch. And that’s why we needed to be perfect in our transition defense and our 3-point defense, and we weren’t.””

    With 17 regular season games left – 16 of them conference games – Hill said this game may make the Wildcats a quicker team in the future.

    “”We just gotta keep going in the Pac-10 and see what we do,”” he said. “”Every team that we (will) play, they are quick. We just have to go out there and keep playing hard – play Arizona basketball.””

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