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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    J-Mac downs Aggies with 3-point attack

    Arizona forward Marcus Williams gets a hand on a shot attempt from New Mexico State guard Justin Hawkins in yesterdays 102-87 Arizona victory in McKale Center. Williams played 39 minutes for an Arizona squad that used its bench for just 13 minutes, as no starter played less than 36 minutes.
    Arizona forward Marcus Williams gets a hand on a shot attempt from New Mexico State guard Justin Hawkins in yesterday’s 102-87 Arizona victory in McKale Center. Williams played 39 minutes for an Arizona squad that used its bench for just 13 minutes, as no starter played less than 36 minutes.

    Jawann McClellan couldn’t miss a 3-pointer and New Mexico State couldn’t get a rebound.

    The junior guard from Houston set an Arizona record for 3-point field goals without a miss by making all seven of his 3-point attempts and scoring a career-high 22 points while the Wildcats outrebounded the Aggies 41-26 (29-6 in the first half) in a 102-87 win yesterday in McKale Center in front of 13,650 fans.

    McClellan hit several 3-pointers midway through the first half, but when one dangled on the rim before going, he knew he was in the zone.

    “”It went in and came out and went in again, and I was just like, ‘It’s just one of those days,'”” McClellan said.

    UA head coach Lute Olson challenged McClellan to rebound more by benching him to start the second half of Wednesday’s game against NAU, and he responded by grabbing six of his seven rebounds in the first half.

    “”I knew he was sending a message to me that I need to get on the glass, which is what I’m known for,”” McClellan said, “”and that’s all I tried to do is come out here tonight and get on the offensive and defensive glass, and that’s what I was able to do. And luckily I was able to hit open shots.””

    Arizona (2-1) held the Aggies (1-2) scoreless for 7:49 in the first half, scoring 25 consecutive points to build a 32-8 lead. McClellan made three 3-pointers, forwards Marcus Williams and Chase Budinger scored six points apiece and forward Ivan Radenovic added four points during the Wildcats’ spurt.

    “”They do that to a lot of teams, and one thing that I told our guys is it’s difficult to simulate how fast, how quick they jump on teams,”” New Mexico State head coach Reggie Theus said. “”By the time you look, you’re down 16, 20 points. That was fine. I didn’t have a problem with it, but it was the 29-6 rebounding in the first half that was a problem for me.””

    Radenovic led Arizona with 25 points and 12 rebounds on 10-of-13 shooting from the field in 38 minutes, Williams scored 20, Budinger had 19, and point guard Mustafa Shakur had all 15 of his points in the second half, to add to his nine assists.

    All five starters played at least 36 minutes, and Olson didn’t make his first substitution until 6:42 remained in the first half, when Jordan Hill made a two-minute appearance in before going back to the bench the rest of the contest.

    No one off the bench played more than five minutes, as the unit combined for just one point, and Williams, who played just two minutes in the second half against NAU, played all but one minute the entire game.

    “”We play so much in practice together and do all these things together, we’re a cohesive unit, so it’s hard for anyone to stop us,”” Williams said.

    New Mexico State guard Justin Hawkins, who transferred from Utah and is no stranger to McKale Center having played against the Wildcats two years ago, kept the Aggies close in the second half. He scored all 13 of his points in the second half, including 11 of his team’s 13 points in a 3:51 stretch as the Aggies withered the lead to 76-64.

    New Mexico State cut the lead to as low as 87-82 late in the second half, but Arizona hit nine of 10 free throws to push the victory margin to 15. Guard Fred Peete led the Aggies with 18 points and center Martin Iti added 16 points on 8-of-8 shooting from the field.

    Although Arizona shot a scorching 66.7 percent from the field in the second half, New Mexico State countered with 53.8 percent shooting on 15 more shot attempts than the Wildcats and nine 3-point field goal makes.

    “”Those were tough shots,”” Olson said. “”There were not many uncontested shots.””

    Olson had previously played nine players for double-digit minutes in each of the first two games but cut down his rotation yesterday citing Hill’s two quick fouls and too many turnovers from the backup point guards (J.P. Prince and Nic Wise two turnovers each in two minutes each) as reasons for giving so much time to the starters.

    “”We were in a great flow,”” Shakur said. “”I looked up, and we were in for like the first 11 minutes…nobody else was tired, and Coach just kept with us.””

    Even McClellan, who continues to battle a sore knee, played 38 minutes.

    Despite not having much rest, Arizona’s starters scored 101 of the 102 points, as the Wildcats scored 100 points in back-to-back games for the first time since February 2004.

    But Arizona allowed 87 points to the Aggies, who had six players in double-digits in points.

    “”We can’t keep on letting other teams score that many points on us,”” said Budinger, who was one of three Arizona players with seven rebounds.

    Budinger said rebounding had been the “”emphasis”” going into the game, and Arizona’s 19-10 advantage in second chance points as well its 46-28 advantage in points in the paint gave the Wildcats a boost in an up-tempo game.

    “”It’s just the effort,”” said Radenovic who earned his first double-double of the season. “”When it comes to rebounding, it’s pretty much all effort.””

    And 1

    McClellan broke Gilbert Arenas’s 3-point record. Arenas went 6-of-6 against Washington State Jan. 2001. McClellan’s mark also tied a Pac-10 record held by Dion Cross of Stanford, set in March 1996 against Arizona…Erick Swett won a car by winning the four-spot shooting contest at halftime, banking in a half-court shot to finish the deal. He is the second person in the last two years to win a car, as it happened last year in March against Washington…Brielmaier led the bench with five minutes of playing time and one point but received nasty facial cut that Olson predicted would need about eight stitches…UA football head coach Mike Stoops was put on the Jumbotron and received a standing ovation with 15:33 left in the first half.

    – Michael Schwartz contributed to this report

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