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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Another game, another win”

    Arizonas Ivan Radenovic is hit in the face by Washington States Robbie Cowgill and defended by Caleb Forrest during the second half of last nights game.
    Arizona’s Ivan Radenovic is hit in the face by Washington State’s Robbie Cowgill and defended by Caleb Forrest during the second half of last night’s game.

    men’s basketball: ARIZONA 66, Washington state 61

    With this year’s Arizona men’s basketball team, it has been a crapshoot to see which half the team will show up for.

    In yesterday’s 66-61 victory, Arizona (18-10, 11-6 Pacific 10 Conference) made its mark in the first half against Washington State (11-15, 4-13) before allowing the Cougars to get back in the game after intermission.

    Arizona took an 11-point lead into halftime, highlighted by tough, aggressive defense that held Washington State to just 32.1 percent shooting and eight turnovers.

    The second half was a different story, with the Cougars going on a 9-0 run and cutting the Wildcat lead to just three with 8:25 left in the game.

    The lead jostled between both clubs with WSU getting as close as two points with just 3:37 left on a layup by sophomore guard Kyle Weaver, but that is as close as the Cougars would get to an upset in McKale Center.

    “”It was just too little too late,”” Washington State head coach Dick Bennett said. “”We didn’t adjust to their speed in the first half. We finally got our defense together and figured out how to break down the half-court press. We just got a poor start and didn’t find our intensity. I think that’s a tribute to our young kids.””

    The consistent first half was paced by junior guard Mustafa Shakur, who began the game with four assists on Arizona’s first five baskets as the Wildcats jumped to a quick 10-4 lead.

    Shakur continued to share the ball, ending the game with 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds and gaining Arizona head coach Lute Olson’s top honors.

    “”I felt from out standpoint our star of the game was Mustafa,”” Olson said. “”He just did a great job running the team. It looks like he is getting more comfortable in that position.””

    Shakur, who had his highest point total since the Feb. 2 loss at Southern California, combined with freshman forward Marcus Williams, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds, to knock down five of six free throws in the last 41 seconds.

    “”I guess Mustafa made the big free throws and kind of got some security, and then Marcus made a big bucket,”” junior forward Ivan Radenovic said.

    The big bucket came when the Wildcats were up by just two points as Williams flashed to the hoop with the shot clock winding down and made a runner in the lane with just three minutes left in the game.

    “”That’s what I’ve been doing most of my career as a basketball player is take big shots, and that’s a role I invite,”” Williams said.

    One of the biggest factors in the game came off the boards, as Washington State out-rebounded Arizona 38-29, something that favored the Wildcats 47-27 in their Dec. 29 victory over the Cougars in Spokane, Wash.

    “”They just outhustled us, that is what it is,”” Radenovic said.

    Adams hurts shoulder, but good for Saturday

    A scary moment for Wildcat fans came with 1:06 left in the first half when senior guard Hassan Adams fought through a screen to block Washington State redshirt senior guard Randy Green as he hoisted up a jumper.

    Adams re-entered the lineup with 16:27 left but scored just two points upon his return. Olson said that he should be fine after the team X-rayed his shoulder during halftime.

    “”Now in the new training room we have an X-ray machine where they can take (Adams) in at halftime … and everything is fine in the X-rays,”” Olson said. “”It is just a shoulder strain, so he should be fine by Saturday.””

    Olson’s pregame praise for Bennett

    Arizona men’s basketball coach Lute Olson took the microphone before the contest and praised Bennett in front of 14,572 people at McKale Center.

    Bennett officially announced his retirement Tuesday, effective at the end of this season.

    “”I can’t tell you how proud all of us are in this profession to claim you as one of ours,”” Olson said to Bennett.

    Olson also let Bennett, an avid golfer, know that the next trip he makes to Tucson will include a round of golf at one of the resorts.

    “”We’re going to have a long weekend at one of our local resorts with free golf,”” Olson said with a smile. “”You can play 54 holes a day.””

    Bennett said after the game that he had heard they were going to do something.

    “”They told me that they were going to do something,”” Bennett said. “”I told them not to, but for golf, why not?””

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