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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cats tighten screws on ASU

    Arizonas Marcus Williams drives to the basket over ASUs Sylvester Seay (30) during the second half of Arizonas game against Arizona State, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006 at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona beat ASU 68-47. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)
    Chris Coduto
    Arizona’s Marcus Williams drives to the basket over ASU’s Sylvester Seay (30) during the second half of Arizona’s game against Arizona State, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006 at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona beat ASU 68-47. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

    men’s basketball: ARIZONA 68, ASU 47

    It might be time for Tucson to finally accept a team that isn’t full of go-to guys or prolific 3-point specialists but has gritty defenders that get the job done in another way.

    The Arizona men’s basketball team (17-10, 10-6 Pacific 10 Conference) defeated ASU (10-15, 4-12) 68-47 in McKale Center on Saturday with a ruthless defense that never let the Sun Devils breathe, much less get solid looks at the basket.

    The first half was 20 minutes of intense on-ball pressure that forced 15 turnovers and saw the Sun Devils limited to 13 points.

    Arizona held ASU scoreless for times of 6:44 and 7:03 in the half, as the Sun Devils scored only seven points before junior guard Kevin Kruger’s layup with 2:34 left.

    The Wildcats tallied nine steals in the first half and 16 overall, with junior forward Ivan Radenovic notching a career-high six steals and senior guard Hassan Adams adding four.

    “”We just had a great defensive game,”” freshman forward Fendi Onobun said. “”Defense turns into offense … so obviously we got the win, and thanks to defense we did that.””

    The first-half defense was the story of the game. With 11:51 left in the first half, ASU had as many turnovers, seven, as shot attempts.

    “”We try to keep the intensity up all game,”” said sophomore guard Daniel Dillon. “”We got a lot of people coming off the bench, rotating in, and as long as we keep the intensity up we can play (solid defense) the whole time.””

    The intensity showed, as the Wildcats scored 30 of their 68 points off turnovers and held ASU to 36 percent shooting from the field.

    On the offensive end of the floor, the Wildcats didn’t have anyone break out but spread the scoring to 10 different players, with Radenovic leading the team with 14 points and seven rebounds and Adams pitching in with 12 and five.

    More important than individual scoring were the two big runs Arizona put on the Sun Devils.

    At the 3:12 mark in the first half, junior guard Mustafa Shakur dished to Onobun for a reverse layup to put the Wildcats up 32-7 and cap a 17-0 run by Arizona.

    That type of offense had some of the players using a word that has almost crept out of the men’s basketball vocabulary.

    “”It was one of those fun games,”” Dillon said. “”Ivan had three dunks, Fendi had a couple of dunks.””

    Onobun agreed that the game was just that – fun.

    “”I had fun, the game was fun,”” Onobun said. “”Guys making shots, guys making plays, sharing the ball, being patient, getting good shots. Everybody got in the game. I had fun.””

    Notes

    The Wildcats are tied for fourth with Stanford (10-6 conference) entering the final weekend of conference play, while No. 17 Washington (11-5) and California (11-5) are within striking distance if Arizona sweeps the Washington schools next weekend. … Redshirt senior forward Isaiah Fox dressed out but is still sidelined by back spasms that Arizona head coach Lute Olson said have only gotten worse.

    “”Those spasms are getting worse,”” Olson said. “”I think they are going to do an MRI to see if it might be a disc problem or something. … It goes back to right after the first ASU game. He was lifting and he strained a muscle they thought at that point, but it’s not been good since.””

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