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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Loss magnified by game’s drama

    UA forward Jordan Hill (43) goes up for the rebound against Texas A&Ms Josh Carter (23) and  David  Loubeau  (10) Friday in the Wildcats 67-66 loss in College Station, Texas. Arizona collapsed in the second half to the Aggies after UA point guard Nic Wise fouled out.
    UA forward Jordan Hill (43) goes up for the rebound against Texas A&M’s Josh Carter (23) and David Loubeau (10) Friday in the Wildcats’ 67-66 loss in College Station, Texas. Arizona collapsed in the second half to the Aggies after UA point guard Nic Wise fouled out.

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – It was showcased as a big game for the three UA men’s basketball players from the state of Texas, as well as for the Wildcats’ Big Three, when the team played Texas A&M on Friday night.

    It was the biggest test of the year thus far for both teams, showcased before 10,393 people, the largest crowd for either of them. Even Texas A&M’s 50-game nonconference home winning streak was on the line.

    And in the end, it was a big – no, huge – win for the Aggies, 67-66, in Reed Arena and a loss of equal magnitude for the Wildcats (5-2).

    For at least two hours during the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series, everything in Texas really was bigger.

    With UA guard Nic Wise riding the bench for the final 7:33 after fouling out, and Texas native Garland Judkins not making the trip for failing to meet team obligations, UA forward Chase Budinger acted as the team’s point guard down the stretch. His 12 points in the first half were met with only three in the second half.

    Wise picked up his fourth foul with 9:56 left in the game, forcing him to sit out. He was put back into the game at the 7:38 mark, but fouled out of the game five seconds later, leaving with 11 points.

    Arizona was up 59-50 at the time.

    “”He was missed a lot. He’s basically the focal point of our offense,”” UA forward Jordan Hill said of Wise. “”When he got taken out, it seemed like it went downhill from there.””

    In a quick turn of events, the Aggies (6-1) clawed back from their deficit, taking their only lead of the night with 19.7 seconds left as A&M forward Nathan Walkup hit a 3-pointer – his only points of the game – to give the home team what proved to be the final score.

    “”I was looking for the pass at first, and then I read my man and he kind of hesitated,”” Walkup said. “”And I let it go.””

    Arizona called a timeout with 17 seconds left to draw up a plan, which led to Budinger shooting a last-second shot that he missed – something that happened to Wise in Arizona’s only other loss, a 72-71 defeat to Alabama-Birmingham.

    The ball went out of bounds off an Aggie, however, and the Wildcats got another chance with .3 seconds left.

    But Budinger threw the ball in, then several hands tipped it around before the buzzer sounded and A&M fans rushed the court.

    The loss came after Arizona had led by as many as 14 points and went into halftime leading by 11.

    “”It’s very frustrating right now,”” Budinger said. “”Anytime you have a lead like that and a team starts slowly catching up on you, it’s very frustrating and devastating to a team.””

    Arizona finished shooting 58.3 percent (28-for-48) from the field, and held the Aggies to 47.1 percent (24-for-51) shooting.

    The Wildcats, however, had 15 turnovers to the Aggies’ four.

    “”The only reason that we were able to win was that we only had four turnovers,”” A&M head coach Mark Turgeon said.

    Hill, who finished with a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds, was charged with a technical foul – his third personal – with 6:33 left in the game for something he said on the court, giving Josh Carter two shots at the line to bring the Aggies to within five points at 59-54.

    “”That’s definitely something I need to work on,”” Hill said. “”I just need to ignore what other opponents are saying.

    “”When I’m on the court, I’ve got a lot of fire. I like to intimidate other opponents,”” Hill added. “”I just like to talk a little bit. Tonight just wasn’t a good time to talk.””

    Eighteen seconds later, A&M guard B.J. Holmes scored three of his team-high 14 points at the top of the arc to cut the deficit to 59-56.

    A Bryan Davis layup with 3:36 left tied the score at 62, marking the first time in the game the Aggies didn’t trail the Wildcats.

    Two buckets by Hill gave Arizona a 66-62 lead. The Wildcats had the chance to expand on their lead, but Budinger traveled, and Hill and Kyle Fogg missed free throws down the stretch.

    Arizona began the game with a 15-2 run, but in 2:13 of play, the Aggies took advantage of Wildcat fouls and turnovers to cut the score to 15-12.

    The Wildcats went on a 6-0 run from there and led by as much as 14 points in the first half, even with Hill sitting on the bench for 13 minutes with two fouls.

    Hill’s foul trouble – especially the technical – didn’t bode well for the Wildcats when coupled with Wise fouling out, which in turn took a toll on Budinger.

    Arizona’s Big Three were deflated.

    “”Not only did we not have (Wise) on the floor, but it made Chase play out of position,”” interim head coach Russ Pennell said. “”It was pretty tough for us to get into the things we wanted to get into.””

    And 1

    Arizona center Alex Jacobson matched a career-high with 14 minutes of playing time. The redshirt freshman contributed 4 points on 2-of-3 shooting, making a 17-footer and a put-back dunk. …

    Fogg started in place of Judkins. When asked if he missed Judkins after Wise fouled out, Pennell quickly shook his head, said “”No,”” and looked away.

    Pennell said he expects Judkins to be back in action for UA’s Dec. 10 home game against San Diego State.

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