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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Bears maul sluggish Cats as Stanford looms

    Men’s basketball ? arizona 66, california 75

    BERKELEY, CALIF. – In typical Arizona 2005-06 fashion, the Wildcats dug a hole and were unable to dig themselves out. Arizona lost its 10th game of the season as the California Golden Bears (16-6, 10-3, Pacific 10 Conference) defeated the Wildcats (15-10, 8-6) 75-66 with chants of NIT coming from the Cal student section.

    Arizona’s start was emblematic of the majority of the Wildcats road games this season. The Golden Bears jumped on Arizona with a 9-0 start led by sophomore forward Leon Powe, who scored the game’s first five points and ended up with 30 points and 10 rebounds.

    “”I thought Cal played extremely well, they controlled the tempo,”” Arizona head coach Lute Olson said. “”The early lead really put a lot of pressure on us.””

    Powe muscled his way inside for an easy bucket, then off a California steal, Powe took it coast to coast, dribbled behind his back, went up and drew the foul along with his layup. “”He’s good because he’s strong and he goes to the hoop well and can really use his body well,”” junior center Kirk Walters said. “”Plus if you double team him he sees the court well and he can dish it off to the open guy.””

    Walters found himself saddled with foul trouble early, picking up two before the 14:25 mark in the first half. With Arizona’s big man rotation depleted because of redshirt senior Isaiah Fox’s absence (Fox missed the trip because of back spasms), Walters still played 12 first-half minutes. He was not as fortunate in the second half, picking up three fouls in just six minutes of play, his fifth coming on an offensive foul call with 6:27 left in the game.

    “”I caught a couple of early fouls and I needed to be smarter with how I was playing and obviously I wasn’t and picked up some more,”” Walters said. “”It’s tough to play when you have five fouls. It gets frustrating but that’s the way they’re calling it and I should have seen that.””

    Senior guard Hassan Adams didn’t help the Wildcats’ start either, as the nine-point early deficit proved to be the difference at the end. His first shot didn’t draw iron, and his next two shots were swatted away by sophomore forward Devon Hardin, who looked like he was trying to block the ball out of Haas Pavillion. Adams wound up with yet another season low, seven points, one point lower than his output from last game against Oregon State.

    Cal shot 57.5 percent as a team and the Wildcats failed to keep them off the free throw line. The Bears marched to the line 34 times compared to Arizona’s 18.

    “”They had a lot of layups and things around the basket, backdoors and full court passes,”” junior point guard Mustafa Shakur said. “”Anytime teams are getting easy looks like that all night, they’re going to shoot a great percentage. I don’t remember them shooting too many jump shots.””

    Senior guard Chris Rodgers, in his first game back, scored three points, making one 3-point shot in 22 minutes and playing his patented full court defense.

    “”He was a one man full court press,”” freshman forward Marcus Williams said.

    Rodgers couldn’t disclose what he had to go through to be back on the team, but thanked his teammates and the fans for the way he was treated through the process.

    “”I’m just really happy to be back with the team,”” Rodgers repeated numerous times. “”This really means a lot to me, the support and all the people who were concerned. It’s not about me, it’s about the team.””

    Junior guard Ayinde Ubaka added 11 points for California and hit a big 3-pointer with 5:23 left to play after a Williams 3-pointer cut the lead to six.

    Senior guard Richard Midgley, who didn’t score in the teams’ previous meeting, had 11 points as well, and freshman forward Theo Robertson scored 12 points for the Bears.

    Powe, meanwhile was unstoppable, scoring despite being double teamed. The Wildcats were often slow on their double teams as well and Powe was able to get deep position on the block.

    “”No one’s been able to stop him this year,”” Williams said.

    Williams led Arizona with 21 points on 7-of-13 from the field.

    “”We were always playing come back, they got up by a little bit, we made some runs but we just kept sending them to the line,”” Williams said. “”We couldn’t get over the hump.””

    Freshman guard J.P. Prince did not play for the second straight game and wouldn’t say whether he was frustrated over the lack of playing time.

    “”You’re asking the wrong guy,”” Prince said. “”Talk to Coach. He’s the coach and I do what he says.””

    Arizona next faces Stanford (13-9, 9-4) on Sunday with two days off to prepare. The Cardinal have won six of eight, suffering losses only at California and at No. 5 Gonzaga.

    “”As far as Stanford is concerned, I think it’s a break for us that we have two days in between that game, where we have a chance to do a lot of work and preparation for Stanford,”” Olson said. “”They require a lot of work because of the way they play.””

    The Cardinal are led by senior center Matt Haryasz who averages 18.1 points per game and senior guard Chris Hernandez, with 13.9 points per game.

    “”Matt Haryasz is the best big guy in the league, all you have to do is look at his stats and you’ll see that,”” Olson said. “”He, like Powe, can score inside, can score facing up, and can put it on then floor.

    “”(Chris) Hernandez has always been a problem for everyone that plays Stanford, and I am sure that their home crowd is going to be just like it has. They’ll be a tremendous inspiration for them as a team.””

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