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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcats become Wise-r

    UA guard Nic Wise drives to the basket during Arizonas 81-45 win Thursday at Oregon State. Wise returned after missing the past seven games following knee surgery to score 15 points and dish out a game-high six assists in a game-high 34 minutes.
    UA guard Nic Wise drives to the basket during Arizona’s 81-45 win Thursday at Oregon State. Wise returned after missing the past seven games following knee surgery to score 15 points and dish out a game-high six assists in a game-high 34 minutes.

    Arizona 81, Oregon State 45

    Nic Wise is proof that dynamite really does come in small packages.

    From the opening seconds when he grabbed the tipoff and scored the first two points of the game 14 ticks in, the 5-foot-10 guard Wise gave a boost to the Arizona men’s basketball team that it has missed for the last seven games.

    The Wildcats (18-12, 8-9 Pacific 10 Conference) walloped Oregon State (6-23, 0-17) 81-45 in Corvallis, Ore., last night as Wise made his return from a Feb. 6 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Forward Bret Brielmaier also returned after missing 12 of the last 14 games – including the last seven – with a separated shoulder.

    “”That’s the first time we’ve had a full team in a long time,”” said UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. “”We’ve got more options. We’ve got two guys (guard Jerryd Bayless and Wise) who can dribble the ball. And when one of those guys is out, it’s very difficult for us to score. We’re just naturally a better team with those guys.””

    Bayless was out with a sprained right knee the last time the Wildcats faced the Beavers in McKale Center. This time he led the Wildcats with 20 points. Forwards Chase Budinger (17 points, six rebounds) and Jordan Hill (16, nine) also benefited from the distribution of Wise, who had a game-high six assists.

    “”It just makes it easier for everyone else to get shots and he’s one of our better defenders and one of our tougher guys,”” O’Neill said of Wise, who had two steals. “”He’s as valuable a player as we have on our whole team.””

    The game was virtually over at halftime, as the Wildcats led 40-18 behind Wise’s 14 points and three assists over 20 minutes. The guard played another 14 minutes in the second half and tacked on another point, bringing his total up to 15 on 3-for-7 shooting over a game-high 34 minutes.

    “”It doesn’t matter who we were playing, I was going to play him at least 30 minutes,”” O’Neill said.

    Though he didn’t score, O’Neill said he was pleased with the defensive performance of Brielmaier, who played 12 minutes and pulled down three defensive boards.

    “”He did what Bret does,”” O’Neill said. “”He took a charge, he had a couple deflections, he had three rebounds, he set great screens. He played a great game.””

    The Beavers shot a dismal 32.1 percent (17-for-52) from the field, as the Wildcats sank 50 percent (28-for-56) of their shots.

    “”I thought the way we played defensively made things go our way,”” O’Neill said. “”But I didn’t like that we had 17 turnovers and 12 in the first half.””

    Like most games this season, Arizona started off cold, scoring just four points in four minutes and let OSU grab a 10-6 lead less than eight minutes in. Then the Wildcats went on a 31-6 run to finish off the half and only got hotter as the second half started.

    Budinger scored five points in the opening minute of the second half as Arizona exploded to a 62-24 lead with 12:38 left. Hill scored 10 of his points in that span as well.

    The Wildcats knew things were going their way when Bayless tossed up an ally-oop to guard Jawann McClellan and McClellan missed the dunk, but the ball still fell in to give the Wildcats a 66-28 lead.

    O’Neill credited much of the firepower to Wise.

    “”He’s very crucial to the way we operate,”” O’Neill said. “”And he does bring a lot of energy to the team.””

    And 1

    The Wildcats got a scare 6:30 into the game, as Bayless hit his face against OSU forward Calvin Hampton’s face. Both players briefly exited the game and returned with band-aids – Bayless’ under his right eye, Hampton’s above his eye. …

    The Wildcats shot 19-for-21 from the free-throw line. Bayless was 10-for-10 and Wise was 8-for-9.

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