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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Budinger, ‘Cats hope to rebound against Oregon”

    UA forward Chase Budinger takes a shot against Weber State in Arizonas 71-65 win in McKale Center Dec. 29. Budinger looks to break out of a four-game shooting slump Thursday night against Oregon.
    UA forward Chase Budinger takes a shot against Weber State in Arizona’s 71-65 win in McKale Center Dec. 29. Budinger looks to break out of a four-game shooting slump Thursday night against Oregon.

    Arizona vs. Oregon

    The light at the end of the tunnel might appear very similar to McKale Center’s house lights.

    The tunnel, as in Chase Budinger’s dark shooting slump and his team’s current position (bottom of the Pacific 10 Conference) which the Arizona men’s basketball team finds itself heading into tonight’s game against Oregon. After its first weekend of conference play, Arizona (9-5, 0-2 Pac-10) is tied for last place in the Pac-10 with the Ducks (6-8, 0-2).

    The light, as in the comforting confines of McKale Center, a place where the Wildcats have gone 9-1 so far this season. Coming off a pair of double-digit losses against the Bay Area schools, there’s no place the Wildcats would rather be than Tucson, especially in the position they’re in.

    “”We feel like we failed (last) weekend, so we’re just looking forward to these two home games to get us back on track,”” said UA point guard Nic Wise of the losses at California and Stanford. “”You’ve got to protect your home court. We are struggling on the road. You can’t be struggling on the road, then give up something at home, too.””

    The parallel between Arizona’s road struggles (0-4 in true road games) and Chase Budinger’s recent slump is inevitable.

    The captain has gone 12-of-50 from the field and 2-of-17 from beyond the arc over the past four games – three of which came on the road.

    Sunday against Stanford, Budinger made 4-of-11 attempts from the field – but three of those were dunks and one was a layup.

    The Wildcats collectively shot 0-for-8 from beyond the arc in the 76-60 loss to the Cardinal.

    “”There’s nothing really that you can say to a person just to make the ball go in the rim,”” Wise said. “”He knows that it’s key for him to knock down shots. He’s just in a slump right now.””

    Added UA interim head coach Russ Pennell: “”I don’t know that anyone’s doing anything (to Budinger); I think he’s missing shots. And he’s probably thinking about it a little too much. And it’s not like he’s taking bad shots. He’s not forcing shots.””

    Still, Budinger averages nearly all 40 points per game and manages to register double-digit points, whether those come from the free throw line (84.6 percent made this season) or put-backs off rebounds (he averages six boards per game).

    “”He feels like he’s letting people down when he misses shots and he’s not carrying his weight,”” Pennell said. “”The last thing I want to do is be an amateur shrink and get in his head and determine that he eats toast for breakfast and that’s why his followthrough’s not any good. I don’t want to be that kind of coach.””

    Pennell focused on reducing turnovers

    Although Stanford’s hot hand from beyond the arc took the Wildcats out of many comeback opportunities, Pennell said sloppy ball handling is something that concerned him more than perimeter defense.

    Arizona gave up 20 points off turnovers on 16 second-chance opportunities.

    “”That meant we were turning the ball over and we weren’t boxing out,”” Pennell said. “”Thirty-six points. Well, we might have well walked up to the scorer’s table before the game and said, ‘Mark them down for 36 and we’ll start now.’ You can’t play that way.””

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