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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ASU drought comes to end

    ASU shelved all the 0-18 talk for another year by beating then-No. 22 USC Sunday, guaranteeing that the Sun Devils stay out of league infamy.

    The victory was a long time coming for a Sun Devil squad that had lost its last five games by an average of four points per game, with three of those games against ranked teams, while threatening to become the first squad to ever lose all 18 league games since Arizona and ASU joined the conference.

    “”ASU has got to be the best 1-14 team in the history of college basketball, at least in recent history,”” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said of the squad the No. 4 Bruins beat by just six. “”We were fortunate to get out of there with a win on Thursday night.””

    USC head coach Tim Floyd compared the job ASU head coach Herb Sendek has done to the rebuilding situation at Washington State. Former WSU head coach Dick Bennett laid the foundation in Pullman before his son Tony took over this season. The Cougars, who finished last in the Pacific 10 Conference last season, rank second this year.

    “”The coaches recognized what a great job Dick Bennett was doing with that Washington State team,”” said USC head coach Tim Floyd, “”and it was just a matter of time before those kids learned how to win, and that comes a result of staying in a belief system, coaches not wavering and changing their offense or changing their defense as result of two or three losses, but saying we know this works and we’re going to continue to do it.””

    Floyd said that he’s not sure if he’s ever seen a better job of a coach maintaining competitiveness through adversity than what Sendek has done through all of ASU’s losses. He predicts a bright future for the young Sun Devils.

    “”I think two, three years down the road we’re going to look at this Arizona State team and say the foundation was laid this year,”” Floyd said. “”They’re going to be a team that’s going to be highly competitive in this league for a long time.””

    Ducks struggling since last WSU game

    Since the last time Oregon played Washington State, a 77-74 overtime win Jan. 27 in Pullman, Wash., seemingly nothing has gone right for the Ducks.

    After that contest, Oregon lost five of six games, with the only win coming against ASU, and fell to No. 23 in the national rankings after being as high as No. 7.

    Not that UO head coach Ernie Kent is looking for excuses, but if he were, the blame would sit with a four-game road trip against the Washington and Los Angeles schools that started this downward spiral.

    “”I don’t know if anyone else in the country has traveled like that in conference play, but at the same time I think coming back home also re-energizes you, and that’s where we’re at right now,”” Kent said. “”We’re hoping this weekend, it’s such a big, big weekend for us that that energy is there, and we’re not going to use anything else as an excuse just to step up and get it done.””

    It’s a big weekend because the Washington schools make a return visit to Eugene, Ore.

    The No. 9 Cougars, on the other hand, have won five in a row since losing to Oregon, including a victory in McKale Center, to move up to second place in the conference.

    No Goods

    Stanford guard Anthony Goods will miss the final two weeks of conference play with a high ankle sprain, said Stanford head coach Trent Johnson. Goods will not play in Arizona’s game against Stanford on March 3 and could return at earliest in the Pac-10 Tournament.

    Goods ranked second on the Cardinal in scoring, averaging 13.0 points per game in a team-high 34.0 minutes.

    UA Hoops Notes

    Wildcats rest up after tough weekend

    Having played two games every week since Pac-10 play started the last week of December, the Arizona men’s basketball team got its first schedule break in months with eight days off before Sunday’s game at ASU.

    The Wildcats did not practice yesterday after a light practice Monday and will start preparing for the Sun Devils today after getting over a tough weekend home sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles schools.

    “”I hope we’re just a little rejuvenated, probably mentally and physically,”” said UA associate head coach Jim Rosborough. “”I think really at least from my perspective this little break couldn’t happen at a better time. The key thing is that we come back mentally and physically and just have a series of good practices.””

    Although Arizona lost to the Bruins by 15, its six other conference losses were by seven or fewer, close losses which Rosborough said have disappointed the team and made the Wildcats just 8-7 in conference play.

    “”They understand we’ve got a good team and we’ve got good kids,”” he said. “”I didn’t see anything (Monday) that wasn’t very upbeat, so our job is just to get out and give them a good shot to go up to Arizona State and play one of our best games of the year.””

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