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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Bayless gets help in win

    Arizona sophomore forward Jordan Hill, left, attempts to rebound the ball over California center DeVon Hardin in Arizonas 83-73 win over the Golden Bears last night in McKale Center. Hill finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes of action.
    Arizona sophomore forward Jordan Hill, left, attempts to rebound the ball over California center DeVon Hardin in Arizona’s 83-73 win over the Golden Bears last night in McKale Center. Hill finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes of action.

    Arizona 83, California 73

    In its first Valentine’s Day game in four years, there was plenty of love to go around for the Arizona men’s basketball team.

    Four days removed from a loss against ASU in which he scored 39 points with virtually no offensive help, it wasn’t the Jerryd Bayless show in McKale Center last night. It was Jerryd and Co. that took down California 83-73.

    “”We had a lot of energy tonight,”” said UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. “”We didn’t have the energy of a funeral Sunday.””

    Arizona (16-8, 6-5 Pacific 10 Conference) scored on 15 straight possessions – spanning about 10 minutes – to end the game before holding the ball on the final possession.

    Bayless scored 10 of his game-high 33 points in that period to help the Wildcats put up 52 second-half points.

    But Bayless wasn’t alone in taking down the Golden Bears (14-9, 5-7), as forward Jordan Hill put up 21 points and 11 rebounds, while forward Chase Budinger dropped 18.

    Hill, Budinger and Bayless haven’t put up double digits in scoring individually in the same game since they scored 16, 25 and 26, respectfully, in an 84-69 win against Washington on Jan. 26.

    “”I can’t beat anyone by myself,”” Bayless said. “”Nobody in this world can beat a team by themselves. We need everybody to step up and play good games and I think everybody did that tonight.””

    O’Neill said that Hill zoned up in the middle of the paint during the game, something that helped him to score without the presence of guard Nic Wise, who is out with a knee injury.

    “”Jordan played great, particularly in the second half,”” O’Neill said. “”We ran a lot of curl plays to get him dunks out of timeouts. When you have time to set that up it makes it easier.””

    An ally-oop from guard Jerome Randle to guard Patrick Christopher tied the game at 41 at the 14:15 mark in the second half, but the Bears couldn’t capitalize from there. The Wildcats ran away on 60.9 percent field-goal shooting and 90.9 percent shooting (20-for 22) from the free-throw line in the half.

    Arizona made 29-of-36 shots from the charity stripe overall.

    “”I tried to get to the free-throw line early and tried to get my rhythm going,”” said Budinger, who sank nine of 12 from the line. “”My shot wasn’t falling so I tried to be aggressive.””

    The aggression starting from the get-go.

    Nearly six minutes into the game, Bayless drove down the lane and was fouled en route to sinking a layup that gave the Wildcats a 15-5 lead. He stood at the baseline after the whistle, looked up at the Arizona student section, smirked and nodded his head with his arms open, as if to say, “”That’s right.””

    Bayless put the Wildcats ahead 23-13 with a three-point play at the 8:42 mark but the Golden Bears went on a 17-7 run to finish off the first half, cutting Arizona’s lead to 31-30 going into halftime.

    Though four Bears scored in double digits – guard Patrick Christopher (21) and forward Ryan Anderson (19) leading the way – Cal was held to 42.2 percent from the floor throughout the night at the Wildcats shot 47.1 percent.

    “”We gave ourselves a chance to win by playing hard on the defensive end,”” O’Neill said. “”That’s the best we’ve been defensively in three games.””

    Injury update

    Forward Fendi Onobun played four minutes with a broken finger.

    Going up for a rebound in Sunday’s game against ASU, Onobun dislocated his right ring finger as it snapped to the right and broke on the side, he said.

    Onobun said he’s still feeling pain from lingering shin splints, too.

    “”I’m all beat up but I can’t worry about that,”” he said. “”I gotta be a soldier and keep it moving.””

    Meanwhile, forward Bret Brielmaier has not played in seven of the last nine games, including the last two, because of a re-injured separated shoulder. He said that he can do anything except for non-contact activities.

    “”I should be ready in a couple weeks,”” he said. “”Whenever it feels wonderful.””

    And 1

    Arizona has now won five of its last six games that have fallen on Valentine’s Day, with a loss coming at UCLA in 2002. …

    Former Wildcat and current Phoenix Suns general manager Steve Kerr was in attendance last night and sat on Scholarship Row. He spoke to some players in the locker room after the game.

    Meanwhile, the Suns played Dallas in Phoenix.

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