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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA loses third try at tourney

    March 23, 1987  — Wait until next year — again.

    The University of Arizona basketball team lost its third consecutive first-round game in the National Collegiate Athletics Association tournament last week to end what could be described as a disappointing season.

    “”It’s been a year of could have, might have,”” said UA head coach Lute Olson after losing to Texas-El Paso.

    The Wildcats lost 98-91 in overtime at McKale Center in a game that typified their season.

    The Wildcats had the lead in the final minute of play with an apparent victory well in hand, but for this year’s team, no victory was ever well in hand.

    Turnovers, missed free throws and lapses of concentration took over the Wildcats’ game.

    “”We weren’t mentally tough all year,”” UA sophomore forward Sean Elliott said. “”We weren’t again today””.””

    It was obvious that frustration and disappointment were etched on the faces of Olson, Elliott, forward Anthony cook and center Joe Turner, the only four members of the Wildcats that were available after the last game of the season.

    “”It’s been the most mind-boggling, frustrating thing we had to face all yeas (losing leads in the end),”” Olson said.

    The home-court loss to the Miners represented the closest the Wildcats have come to winning an NCAA tournament game in 10 years. Two years ago the UA lost to Alabama 50-41 and last season lost a hard-fought 73-63 decision to Auburn.

    Even Elliott, the glue to the Wildcats all season, didn’t stick against the Miners as the sophomore forward missed free throws and committed crucial mistakes down the stretch.

    “”I’m no angel,”” Elliott said.

    There is always some good in any difficult situation. For the UA, it’s that all but Bruce Frasier returns for next season, including guard Steve Kerr.

    The senior floor general, who redshirted this season, has been making drastic improvements with his knee, which he hurt at the World Basketball championships this past summer.

    Immediately after the NCAA game was played in McKale Center, the UA’s silent, but effective leader, was already on the court working for the season to come.

    “”Everybody is back which is good news for us,”” Olson said. “”This is going to be a very good basketball team next year.””

     

    Three pointer — UA assistant coach Scott Thompson was named the new head coach at Rice University a week ago.

    “”It’s been 10 years that I have been assistant coach. I’m looking to move on,”” Thompson said before he officially took the position.

    Thompson, 33, arrived at the UA with Olson four years ago. He also was an assistant at Iowa and Notre Dame before coming to the UA.

    Thompson’s departure makes the second assistant to leave Olson’s staff in recent years. Ken Burmeister left for Texas-San Antonio at the end of last season. 

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