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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    O -Regon what a nightmare

    Arizonas Marcus Williams grabs a rebound over Oregons Maarty Leunen during the second half of Arizonas game against Oregon, Sunday, January 14, 2007 at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. Oregon beat Arizona 79-77.
    Arizona’s Marcus Williams grabs a rebound over Oregon’s Maarty Leunen during the second half of Arizona’s game against Oregon, Sunday, January 14, 2007 at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. Oregon beat Arizona 79-77.

    On most nights, Marcus Williams’ career high 34 point performance would have sufficed. But this wasn’t most nights.

    Williams’ neighborhood pal, Aaron Brooks, scored 21 points and made a runner off the glass with two seconds remaining to propel No. 15 Oregon (16-1,4-1 Pacific 10 Conference) to a 79-77 victory Sunday night in McKale Center, giving the Ducks their first ever sweep of the Arizona schools.

    Williams fadeaway jumper from the right baseline hit the front rim at the buzzer and the No. 10 Wildcats (13-3, 4-2) lost at home for the first time since last year’s regular season finale against Washington.

    “”Both teams played good enough to win, but we just came up short,”” said the forward Williams.

    Brooks celebrated his 22nd birthday in style, leading Oregon back from a 77-72 deficit with three minutes left. After two Bryce Taylor free throws, Brooks made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 77 with 1:54 remaining. Arizona would have a chance to take the lead, but guard Mustafa Shakur drove the lane and couldn’t connect on a pass to forward Ivan Radenovic.

    “”I thought I clearly had Ivan and the guy just got over, it was my mistake,”” said Shakur who finished with 21 points and six assists.

    Shakur’s miscue allowed Brooks to have the game winning opportunity.

    The senior from Seattle is no stranger to taking big shots against high-ranked opponents with the game on the line. Brooks made a game-winning jumper with 13 seconds left to beat then No. 1 UCLA just eight days ago.

    This time, Brooks ran off a high screen from Marty Leunen, drove right past Shakur and floated the ball high off the backboard over Williams and Ivan Radenovic, who had stepped over to help.

    “”He’s made some great decisions and he’s hit some big shots and he’s hit that shot time and time again for us,”” Oregon head coach Ernie Kent said of Brooks.

    UA head coach Lute Olson pointed to Shakur’s turnover and a missed lay-up by Radenovic just prior to the final possession as crucial instances where the Wildcats didn’t do the necessary things to win the game.

    “”There were a couple of them in a row after we got ahead … we didn’t really get what we wanted on either one of those two,”” he said.

    The loss overshadowed Williams’ best game of his career. In addition to the 34 points, he grabbed 12 rebounds and made all 10 of his free throws while playing 39 minutes.

    “”I felt I played pretty well, but obviously with the loss you don’t feel it at all,”” Williams said.

    He did have a gut feeling that Brooks shot was going in, however, as he saw the ball fly through the air.

    “”I had a small feeling it was going in,”” he said. “”It just looked good, but we got a good shot at the other end, and we executed well (but) just came up short.””

    He had a similar feeling about his own shot after he released it with one second left, but as the ball went off his fingertips, Williams had a different thought.

    “”One second left, you don’t really have a choice and I thought it was going in at first,”” he said, “”and I kind of felt it short coming off my fingers but I would take it again.””

    While Williams shined, freshman Chase Budinger scored a career-low four points on 2-of-7 shooting, including 0-of-3 from 3-point.

    Notorious for not having very good games when he misses his first shot, Budinger’s first two attempts came up way short.

    Budinger insisted he hasn’t hit a midseason wall and that his struggles were more mental than physical, but said that he needs to be more “”assertive.””

    “”It’s frustrating when you lose a game,”” he said. “”Knowing that I didn’t play very well so it’s very frustrating.””

    The Wildcats found themselves down for a majority of the second half but Oregon never led by more than six at 55-49.

    Arizona quickly rallied with a 7-0 run capped by a Shakur 3-point play.

    Oregon would regain the lead and was ahead 68-65 before Arizona made its push.

    Jawann McClellan, who had 12 points, made two free throws to cut the lead to one. Then Williams made a steal and an emphatic dunk, springing the crowd to its feet.

    On the next possession, Budinger blocked Adam Zahn leading to a fastbreak, and Shakur spun away from the defense and made a lay-up while falling down.

    Williams capped the run with another dunk to give Arizona a 73-68 lead.

    “”We knew the game was going to be a game of runs and we went back and forth on the runs, but in the end we just couldn’t make those defensive stops,”” Budinger said. “”When we were up by five points, we couldn’t put together key stops.””

    Oregon held leads of three and four points in the first half and held the Wildcats scoreless for a stretch that neared five minutes, but Arizona answered back each time.

    Williams answered the first lead with his own personal 7-0 run, knocking down a jumper, a 3-pointer and finishing it off with a 3-point play, giving the Wildcats a 20-15 advantage.

    The second time, Arizona battled back from a 24-20 deficit by outscoring Oregon 10-3 and taking a 30-27 lead.

    Taylor added 21 points for Oregon, Malik Hairston scored 18 and grabbed eight rebounds, and Leunen had a double double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

    In the end it was Brooks who walked away with a birthday present after playing all 40 minutes.

    “”I’m happy for him with the way he’s playing but obviously not so happy with the result of the game,”” Williams said.

    And 1

    Nic Wise did not dress for the second straight game.

    Wise said he could not comment on his situation but said he would be available to play Thursday.

    Sources close to the team said Wise has settled his academic situation, turning in a paper to complete a fall class.

    Wise said he couldn’t talk about the specifics until Tuesday.

    About Time

    Sunday marked the first time the student section sold out.

    Rookie Mistake

    Jordan Hill tried to take the ball out after Williams made a free throw in the first half.

    After realizing his mistake, Hill dropped the ball and ran down court.

    – Lance Madden contributed to this report

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