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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cats bow out early once again

    Purdues Gordon Watt ties up Arizonas Nic Wise during the first half of Arizonas 72-63 loss to the Boilermakers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
    Purdue’s Gordon Watt ties up Arizona’s Nic Wise during the first half of Arizona’s 72-63 loss to the Boilermakers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

    NEW ORLEANS – The NCAA Tournament began and ended for Arizona Friday.

    Any thought that the Wildcats could just turn it on after a long slump was quickly forgotten as No. 8-seeded Arizona went home with a 72-63 loss to No. 9 Purdue in the first round.

    Early turnovers, missed lay-ups, erratic point-guard play and open 3-pointers for the opposition. That was life with the Wildcats (20-11) this season.

    “”The whole season, you never know which Arizona team is going to show up,”” said guard Jawann McClellan, who scored 12 points off the bench. “”Some nights we look great, and some nights we look like we don’t even deserve to be playing for (head) coach (Lute) Olson and wear an Arizona uniform.””

    Friday night, the Wildcats played more like the latter. They were out-rebounded 19-9 on the offensive glass and pummeled by Purdue’s big man Carl Landry, who scored 21 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.

    The Wildcats shot 4-of-15 from 3-point range and turned over the ball 17 times. And they didn’t have to hold their breath for the first turnover to come, as it came on the first possession.

    “”As a point guard you have to take responsibility for anything that goes on,”” said senior Mustafa Shakur.

    In his last game for Arizona, Shakur didn’t have nearly the type of tournament he had last season in Philadelphia.

    “”He did so well last year, and then he just got off to a horrible start with turnovers, and that’s like sticking a needle in a balloon,”” Olson said.

    Freshman forward Jordan Hill didn’t get in foul trouble but missed his only layup attempt and found himself on the bench after six minutes.

    Hill said he had no idea what he did wrong, but Olson said Hill was “”pushed all over the place”” by Landry.

    “”I know I made one quick turnover, but I really don’t know,”” said Hill, who came back in with only seconds remaining in the game. “”I was on the bench and I wanted to ask coach why he’s not playing (me), but I was just waiting for him to put me in.

    “”When I got in, I was fronting (Landry) like I was supposed to, doing everything they told me to do it, but got taken out. I can’t tell you what the problem was.””

    Landry made all eight of his free throws and grabbed five offensive rebounds.

    The Boilermakers (22-12) scored 30 points in the paint to Arizona’s 22 and turned over the ball only eight times.

    “”The thing that killed us is we played good defense, and all of a sudden, there is a rebound, and Landry is so much more physical than we are,”” Olson said. “”He’d go up, and he’d look like he was throwing a rock in a chicken coup, guys are just flying all over the place. I’m at a loss when I look at stats and see some guys that should be good rebounders (not be).””

    Forward Ivan Radenovic led Arizona with nine rebounds, but fellow forward Marcus Williams had only one.

    The Wildcats led only once, 25-24 on a McClellan jump shot with 6:05 left in the first half. Purdue answered with an 8-0 run, even though the Boilermakers missed opportunities to take full command.

    Arizona cut the lead to as small as two in the second half. With Arizona down 55-52, Purdue made its run.

    Point guard David Teague drove to the basket and pulled up for a short jump shot. Radenovic followed by missing a two-foot bank shot, causing Olson to stomp down the sideline because he thought there was a foul on the play.

    On the next possession, two Wildcat defenders converged on the same man – who did not have the ball – leaving a wide-open Kramer who made an easy layup to give Purdue a 59-52 lead.

    “”There were times where we really defended well, and then they got a second shot and we defended really well, and they got a third shot,”” Olson said. “”That killed us.””

    Williams, Arizona’s leading scorer, attempted only one shot in the first 14 minutes, and Radenovic couldn’t find the stroke from the outside, shooting 4-of-11 and missing both of his 3-pointers.

    Chase Budinger led Arizona with 15 points, but had four turnovers.

    “”When you start off a game like that, it always puts negativity on the team,”” Budinger said of Arizona’s four turnovers in four minutes to start the game.

    Arizona’s output of 63 points was its lowest since it scored 59 in a 2000 Tournament loss to Wisconsin, when Arizona was a No. 1 seed.

    Chris Kramer and Chris Lutz each added 16 points for Purdue, and Teague scored 15 for a scrappy Boilermaker team that shot 38 percent from the field.

    “”Hard work and toughness beat a lot of talent,”” Radenovic said.

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