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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Arizona breaks recent trends to get back on winning track

    Chris Rodgers (left) high fives Ivan Radenovic after Arizona beat Stanford 76-72, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2006 at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)
    Chris Coduto
    Chris Rodgers (left) high fives Ivan Radenovic after Arizona beat Stanford 76-72, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2006 at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

    Philadelphia 76ers sophomore guard Andre Iguodala could have been a senior this season. Instead, the high-flying ex-teammate of another high flyer, senior guard Hassan Adams, won the MVP of the rookie/sophomore game Friday in Houston then stole the show during the slam-dunk contest, where he controversially received second place.

    Adams, who had been in a funk over his last four road games, averaging 11.8 points per game, said he drew motivation from watching his buddy Iguodala take center stage at All-Star Weekend.

    “”That’s motivation,”” Adams said. “”That’s Arizona, and when you look at all the players that were down there, you say,

    ‘I want to be there one day.'””

    Adams and Iguodala, sometimes inseparable when they played together for two seasons, talk often.

    “”He always keeps in contact and shows his love, and he always keeps me going,”” Adams said.

    As for the dunk contest, Iguodala brought a dunk no one has ever seen before, taking a pass from 76ers guard Allen Iverson off the back of the backboard, catching it and reverse dunking the ball on the opposite side. Iguodala was so high that in his first attempt, he nicked his eyebrow on the bottom of the backboard.

    Former Washington Husky guard Nate Robinson, standing just 5-foot-9, wound up the winner despite needing numerous attempts for two of his dunks.

    “”He got robbed,”” Adams said. “”But he was out there having fun. I can see it in his face, he’s happy where he’s at. He’s blessed.””

    Other former Wildcats had fun as well. Guard Steve Kerr participated in the shooting stars competition for the winning San Antonio squad, guards Jason Terry and Gilbert Arenas took part in the 3-point shootout, Iguodala and center Channing Frye played in the rookie/sophomore game, Iguodala dunked in the dunk contest and Arenas played in the All-Star game Sunday night.

    “”I was wondering if Duke was having their own get-together somewhere (else),”” Arizona head coach Lute Olson joked. “”We’re really pleased with our guys though.””

    Adams leads the Pacific 10 Conference in steals this season and is just 21 shy of Arizona’s all-time career record, held by Terry. He also is the unquestioned leader of highlights dunks, many coming off of those steals, and Adams said he wants to continue the style of play Iguodala and other former Wildcats brought to Tucson.

    “”I’ve been here long enough to where we play up tempo, get up and down, and I just want to keep that streak going,”” Adams said.

    Wildcats changing trends

    Adams and junior forward Ivan Radenovic each scored 23 points in the win at Stanford, but it was just the third time that Arizona has had two players top the 20-point mark in the same game.ÿ Adams (21) and senior guard Chris Rodgers (20) accomplished the feat Nov. 23 versus Michigan State, while Adams (32) and junior point guard Mustafa Shakur (23) did it at Washington on Dec. 31.

    As in almost every road game for the Wildcats this season, the Wildcats found themselves down early Sunday at Stanford. Stanford senior guard Chris Hernandez went 3-of-3 on 3-pointers in the first four minutes, and the Cardinal took a quick 11-4 lead.

    “”I thought we really let them off the hook playing the zone from the start,”” Rodgers said. “”Hernandez got hot.””

    The Wildcats went back to their man-to-man defense after Stanford probed the holes in the 1-3-1 matchup zone.

    Arizona crawled back and eventually tied the score at 22 after Rodgers dished off a pass to sophomore forward Bret Brielmaier for an easy layup. Stanford shot 57 percent in the first half but went to the free-throw line just one time.

    Arizona’s problems of sending teams to the free-throw line have been persistent enough for Olson to make an emphatic point about keeping teams off the line.

    Prior to the Stanford game, the Wildcats had fewer free-throw attempts than their opponents in six of their last seven games.

    “”Coach really emphasized, be real aggressive but be smart and don’t foul,”” said freshman forward Marcus Williams.

    Stanford senior forward Dan Grunfeld, who went to the free-throw line 11 times and scored 31 points in his previous game against ASU, didn’t attempt one free throw and scored just nine points on the afternoon.

    “”In the previous game, Hernandez, (Matt) Haryasz and Grunfeld had shot like 27 for 29 or something crazy, and they got a lot of points like that,”” Williams said. “”We didn’t want to give them easy baskets. Basically if you foul them, it’s a layup because it’s two points.””

    Arizona attempted five more free throws than Stanford, and the Cardinal shot 68.8 percent from the foul line. Hernandez snapped his streak of 34 consecutive free throws by missing his first attempt of the game.

    Stanford also shot just 35.7 percent from the field in the second half.

    Notes

    Freshman guard J.P Prince played for the first time in the last three games, coming off the bench with eight minutes left to play in the second half.

    “”I’m out of the doghouse a little,”” he said.

    Redshirt senior Isaiah Fox didn’t make the trip because of back spasms, according to Olson.

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