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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Cats to face another set of big men

    File Photo/ Arizona Daily Wildcat. Arizona forward Chase Budinger rises above guard Ayinde Ubaka in a 70-65 win over California in Haas Pavilion last March. The Bears and the Wildcats have each lost three of their last four games.
    File Photo/ Arizona Daily Wildcat. Arizona forward Chase Budinger rises above guard Ayinde Ubaka in a 70-65 win over California in Haas Pavilion last March. The Bears and the Wildcats have each lost three of their last four games.

    Arizona at California

    After going up against the 7-foot Lopez brothers from Stanford last night, the Arizona men’s basketball team will play its second straight game against a set of lethal twin towers tomorrow night at 6 in the Haas Pavilion, in the form of California’s Ryan Anderson and DeVon Hardin.

    Similar to the Lopez twins but with different qualities, there is a uniqueness that Anderson, a 6-foot-10 forward, and Hardin, a 6-foot-11 center, share.

    “”Neither of those guys want to be messed with, man,”” said UA forward Jordan Hill, who is 6-foot-10.

    After starting every game for the Golden Bears (11-5, 2-3 Pacific 10 Conference) this season – he missed 11 games last season because of a stress fracture in his foot – Hardin is a threat inside. But it’s Anderson that will give the Wildcats (11-6, 1-3) the most trouble.

    Anderson led the conference in scoring (20.7 ppg) going into Thursday – one full point more than UA guard Jerryd Bayless (third, 19.7 ppg) and pulls down an average of 9.4 boards per game, good for fourth in the Pac-10.

    He’s mean from beyond the arc too, leading his team in 3-pointers with 33 made in 72 attempts (.458). UA forward Chase Budinger is 33-for-88 (.375). Anderson is part of the reason why Cal shoots nearly 20 3s per game.

    Cal head coach Ben Braun said he is proud of how diverse his big men are in the post and around the perimeter.

    “”Our big guys, when they screen, are doing a great job getting the perimeter shots open,”” he said. “”And our big guys, I have to give them credit, are capable of shooting the 3.””

    Said UA guard Jawann McClellan: “”Anderson’s playing a lot bigger this year, really hitting the 3-point shot.””

    Complementing Anderson is 6-foot-5 guard Patrick Christopher, a versatile scorer who averages a team-best 16.9 points per game after putting up just 5.2 points per game last season.

    Oregon head coach Ernie Kent, whose Ducks beat the Bears 79-70 Jan. 10 in Eugene, Ore., despite a 21-point performance from Christopher, said he might be the most improved player in the conference and maybe the country.

    “”He’s a classic example of adversity and a guy that’s taken advantage of it,”” Kent said. “”I didn’t realize he could shoot it as well as he did against us.””

    Braun said the change is due to Christopher’s work ethic over the spring and the summer.

    “”He was active going to camps and working in the gym,”” Braun said. “”With the injuries with (forwards Omondi) Amoke and (Theo) Robertson, he knew he was going to have to step up. There’s not a lot he hasn’t done for us.””

    Robertson opted to redshirt for this season as he continues to recover from a surgically repaired hip. He averaged 8.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore.

    Braun said that Robinson’s absence is felt on the court.

    “”Defensively he was that good of a defender,”” Braun said. “”We always put him on the other team’s leading scorer. It’s tough on us but it’s tough on Theo. We know we’re missing those attributes that he brings.””

    Hill said that Cal has done well despite its losses.

    “”Yeah they’ve lost some good players, but they’ve made up for it.””


    BREAKDOWN

    Tale of the Tape:
    Arizona at California

    Guards
    Advantage: Arizona
    Patrick Christopher has improved greatly from last year, averaging 16.9 points per game entering yesterday, but the Wildcats have a more potent perimeter attack.

    Forwards/Center
    Advantage: California
    Versatile Ryan Anderson shoots 3s and scores inside, while athletic center DeVon Hardin cleans up the messes.

    Intangibles
    Advantage: Arizona
    The Wildcats’ brutal nonconference schedule could pay dividends in this hostile environment.

    Prediction
    Anderson will cause matchup problems for the Wildcats, but Jerryd Bayless will take over late in a hard-fought win.
    Arizona 75, California 67

    – compiled by Michael Schwartz


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