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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Seniors key Wildcat win

    Arizona forward Marcus Williams fights for a rebound over Stanford forward Lawrence Hill during the first half of the No. 7 Wildcats 89-75 win over the Cardinal Saturday in McKale Center. Williams scored a game-high 23 points, including makes on his first eight shots, despite playing just 28 minutes due to foul trouble, while Hill scored a team-high 20 points.
    Arizona forward Marcus Williams fights for a rebound over Stanford forward Lawrence Hill during the first half of the No. 7 Wildcats’ 89-75 win over the Cardinal Saturday in McKale Center. Williams scored a game-high 23 points, including makes on his first eight shots, despite playing just 28 minutes due to foul trouble, while Hill scored a team-high 20 points.

    No. 7 Arizona 89, Stanford 75

    Despite being dominated physically for much of the game, the No. 7 Arizona men’s basketball team managed to defeat Pacific 10 Conference foe Stanford 89-75 Saturday afternoon in McKale Center.

    After leading for most of the first half, the Wildcats (11-1, 2-0 Pac-10) hit a wall in the second and were having trouble combating Stanford’s (8-3, 1-1) size. Struggling to put points on the board, Arizona received a scoring surge from senior point guard Mustafa Shakur that helped the Wildcats right the ship and overcome the Cardinal.

    “”(Shakur) got us back in the game, it was a crucial time when we had to score, and Mustafa got us back on the right track,”” said senior Ivan Radenovic.

    Trailing 61-56 after Stanford outscored the Wildcats 18-6 to open the second half, Shakur scored seven unanswered points for the Wildcats, igniting an 11-0 Arizona run that gave the Wildcats the lead for good.

    “”Mustafa (Shakur) continues to play unbelievably well,”” said UA head coach Lute Olson.

    Stanford was able to keep the game close by repeatedly exploiting Arizona’s porous interior defense for easy scores.
    Stanford managed to control the boards and dominate the paint primarily because of its twin seven-footers, freshmen Robin and Brook Lopez. The duo combined to score 31 points and grab 16 rebounds.

    “”They are huge inside and create a lot of problems in there,”” Olson said.

    Guard Jawann McClellan described the duo as towers and expressed frustration at how hard it was to get a rebound over them.

    Stanford forward Lawrence Hill, a Glendale, Ariz. native, was also a presence on the glass, grabbing seven rebounds to go along with his team-high 20 points.

    But whatever advantage the Cardinal had in size Arizona more than made up for with superior quickness. Radenovic repeatedly abused whichever Lopez twin was matched up with him on the perimeter en route to a 22-point game.

    Forward Marcus Williams, despite sitting out long stretches because of foul trouble, managed to lead the Wildcats with 23 points and eight rebounds.

    Shakur once again orchestrated the Wildcat attack, tallying 18 points of his own while dishing out nine assists.

    Forward Chase Budinger and McClellan each had unusually quiet nights for the Wildcats, scoring only 13 and four points, respectively. But Olson credited both for helping hold the Cardinal to only 40 percent shooting in the second half.

    After going 6-of-13 from beyond the 3-point line in the first half, Stanford made only 1-of-11 3-point attempts in the second half as the Wildcats stepped up their perimeter defense.

    The Wildcats came out of the gates scorching hot for the second consecutive game, shooting 65.5 percent (19-of-29) from the field and nailing 7-of-8 3-pointers in the first half. This came on the heels of a 72 percent (18-of-25) and 7-of-11 3-point shooting performance in the first half against California on Thursday.

    Arizona ended up shooting 61.2 percent for the game and made one of two 3-pointers after halftime against the Cardinal.

    The Wildcats led by as many as 13 points in the first half before Stanford began to pound the ball inside in an effort to slow down the UA attack.

    Forward Brook Lopez scored nine consecutive points in the final five minutes of the first half for Stanford, surpassing his season average of 6.6 points per game just in that stretch. It was more of the same early on in the second half; the only difference was it was the other Lopez.

    Center Robin Lopez scored eight points in a little over six minutes to open the second half, helping Stanford grab the lead before Shakur took over.

    Arizona’s two most glaring weaknesses so far this season, a lack of size inside and little production from the bench, were painfully obvious against Stanford. The Cardinal outrebounded the Wildcats 36-27 and managed to put in 16 second-chance points. Stanford’s bench also outscored Arizona’s 31-9.

    Because of Stanford’s rebounding dominance, sporadically used freshman forward Jordan Hill was given an opportunity to play crucial minutes when Williams picked up his fourth foul midway through the second half. He responded by grabbing three defensive rebounds and helped control the paint until Williams returned with 5:10 remaining in the game.

    He was on the floor during Arizona’s big run to reclaim the lead, and his performance against the Lopez twins gives Olson another option to consider when the Wildcats play other Pac-10 teams with superior size like No. 14 Washington and No. 1 UCLA.

    “”Jordan made a huge difference on the glass,”” Olson said.

    The Wildcats closed out the game with back- to-back fast-break dunks, the first by Shakur and the second by Williams via an off-the-backboard pass from McClellan.

    Presumably upset at the dunks because the outcome of the game had already been decided, Stanford head coach Trent Johnson repeatedly said, “”That’s chicken-shit,”” while pacing the sidelines.

    When asked if he was upset about Arizona’s dunks at the end of the game, Brook Lopez said, “”I definitely have to say I was. That’s definitely something we’re going to remember next game.””

    And 1

    The win moves the Wildcats to 2-0 in Pacific 10 Conference play for the fifth consecutive year and into sole possession of first place for the time being pending Sunday’s UCLA-Washington game, with the Bruins currently 1-0 in league play …

    After going 8-of-8 against California on Thursday, Marcus Williams started 4-of-4 against the Cardinal before finally missing a turnaround jumper with 7:25 remaining in the first half. He also missed his next shot. …

    Phoenix Suns owner and UA alum Robert Sarver was in attendance with his mother Irene, who lives in Tucson. Sarver attended his first game in McKale this season, sitting in fifth-row seats he said his family has had since McKale opened. He said that he “”used to go to all of them”” when he lived in Tucson. Sarver was courtside when Arizona beat Illinois in Phoenix Dec. 2 at US Airways Center, home of his Phoenix Suns.

    – Lance Madden and Michael Schwartz contributed to this report.

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