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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA basketball romps defending champ Kansas

    UA forward Jamelle Horne slams down a dunk in last Sundays 84-67 win over Kansas in McKale Center. Horne scored 19 points and 13 rebounds, both career bests
    UA forward Jamelle Horne slams down a dunk in last Sunday’s 84-67 win over Kansas in McKale Center. Horne scored 19 points and 13 rebounds, both career bests

    Arizona 84, Kansas 67

    Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self said Monday it would be difficult to defend Arizona’s Big Three: Jordan Hill, Nic Wise and Chase Budinger.

    He may not have realized the Wildcats (8-3) had other options.

    But Arizona let it be known that it did, loud and clear.

    Jamelle Horne’s put-back dunk with 9.7 seconds left in the game was an exclamation point on his career performance in the Fiesta Bowl Classic in McKale Center on Tuesday night, capping an 84-67 win over the defending national champion Jayhawks (8-3) before a near-sellout crowd of 14,156.

    Horne, the MVP of the Classic, scored a career-high 19 points and pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds. But for the first time all season Horne didn’t start for the Wildcats. Instead, UA interim head coach Russ Pennell gave forward Zane Johnson his first career start.

    “”Coach P had told me before the game he felt I wasn’t playing hard enough, which was understandable, and obviously I responded in a great way,”” Horne said.

    Pennell said he was just trying to refashion the status quo of the team.

    “”I just wanted to make a change,”” Pennell said. “”It wasn’t anything any more than just trying to shake the lineup up and make sure that we don’t get too comfortable. Really nothing hidden in there.””

    Horne entered the game after spending the first 3:19 on the bench. By then Kansas had gone up 12-4, but the energy of the game sparked the fire within the sophomore. He checked into the game and lit up the UA offense when he sank a short jumper and a 3-pointer, then forward Jordan Hill drained a 15-footer from the left side to cut the deficit to 12-11 at the 13:29 mark.

    Just 1:02 later, Horne sprang from nowhere to pull down an offensive rebound and scored a layup to give the Wildcats a 13-12 lead.

    “”It’s always great to have a great game but my teammates are the ones I fed off of today,”” Horne said. “”Obviously I came off the bench, so when I came into the game it was high-intensity game, I’m always a high-energy kind of guy, and I just fed of that.””

    Freshman Kyle Fogg also had a career night, scoring 14 on 4-of-6 shooting in 25 minutes. Hill led all players with 23 points, just two shy of his career high, along with 11 boards.

    “”He’s a beast. He’s a heck of a player,”” Kansas center Cole Aldrich said of Hill. “”He’s really long and athletic as all get out. He will face you up, jab you, he’s got that spin move. He’s just a great all-around player.

    “”By far, he was the best big man I have faced all year,”” Aldrich added.

    Kansas started the second half off with a 6-0 run to go up 44-35, but Arizona retaliated with a 6-0 run of its own, with baskets by Fogg, Nic Wise and Hill in the process.

    Arizona’s defensive pressure heated up in the process. About 4 minutes into the second half, the Wildcats utilized their traps, forcing Brady Morningstar to throw a pass intended for Aldrich out of bounds.

    It was the second botched pass of the game for KU. The first came with 4:11 left in the first half, when Tyshawn Taylor overthrew a pass to Morningstar that went out of bounds near the UA bench. Kansas led 31-28 at the time.

    “”To me, that kind of started a couple things for us that went our way,”” Pennell said.

    Fogg tied the game at 47 with a layup at the 14:32 mark in the second half and was sent to the line in the process, but he couldn’t convert on the play. On the ensuing play, however, Hill made a short jumper, propelling the Wildcats ahead, 49-47.

    Arizona never looked back.

    Two minutes later, Fogg stole the ball near midcourt and made a 3-point play, marking a 20-3 Wildcat run to give Arizona a 55-47 lead. After that, Arizona went on a 9-2 run.

    “”We kept jumping from zone to man to full-court press. We changed our press,”” Pennell said. “”So many times in a basketball game it’s an ebb and flow; you’re just looking for that one thing that kind of gets to them and helps your team.””

    Arizona captain Chase Budinger scored a season-low five points, with his first bucket coming 28:55 into the game.

    Wise threw an alley-oop pass to Budinger, which he caught with one hand in mid-air and dunked, drawing a foul in the process.

    “”Oh, man. That was disrespectful,”” Horne said of Budinger’s dunk.

    Even though Budinger didn’t produce much offensively, Pennell said he was still pleased with his effort, especially on the defensive end.

    “”I didn’t think they locked Chase down as much as Chase let the game come to him,”” Pennell said. “”I really did. That’s the best 1-for-9 I’ve seen.””

    Budinger’s play, along with the rest of his teammates, softened the blow of not starting for Horne, he said.

    “”We have a staff who holds people accountable, and they’ll call you out in front of everyone, no matter who you are, whether it’s the Big Three or Brendon Lavender in practice,”” Horne said. “”They don’t really care who you are. I obviously took that as a challenge today, but more so my teammates just allowed me to play within the flow of the game.””

    Horne couldn’t say whether he’d continue to play off the bench or if he would regain his starting position by the time Arizona’s next game comes around, Dec. 29 vs. Weber State.

    “”That will be something me and the coaches talk about,”” Horne said. “”I actually got to sit back and watch the game, which was really nice, to see how the flow was. But you never know.””

    But no matter what happens in the future, one thing is sure: Horne provided the change Pennell was looking for, while surprising a few others in the process.

    “”He’s just an active athlete,”” Self said. “”We thought he was a good player and he showed that tonight. And it always helps when you’re shooting the ball like he was tonight.””

    And 1

    Former Wildcat and current Major League Baseball player Kenny Lofton attended the game and sat in Scholarship Row.

    Arizona used its presence at the free-throw line to solidify its victory, as it went 23-for-29 from the line. The Wildcats scored 14 of their final 24 points from the charity stripe.

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