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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wildcats Chase Beavers over the Hill

    No. 21 Arizona 76, Oregon State 63

    Chase Budinger went into the Arizona men’s basketball locker room at halftime knowing that he was about to get an earful from the entire coaching staff and all of the players.

    The Wildcats were losing 32-26 to Oregon State in each team’s Pacific 10 Conference opener Thursday night in McKale Center and Budinger had scored just two points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field.

    “”I wasn’t being aggressive in the first half, and in the locker room I got kind of chewed out for that,”” the 6-foot-7 forward said. “”I just tried to change my mentality. I just went out there and went all out and tried to attack as much as I could.””

    Budinger, who said on Tuesday that he was expected to be more aggressive with UA point guard Jerryd Bayless still sidelined with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, scored 18 points in the second half, lifting Arizona (10-3, 1-0 Pac-10) past the Beavers (6-7, 0-1). 76-63.

    “”Chase’s problem is that he’s such an unselfish guy,”” said UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill. “”He goes down the lane tonight in the first half and it should be a gorilla dunk, and he turns it over and tries to scoop it to (forward) Jordan (Hill). That should be a gorilla dunk – a take off on one foot and the foul, you know, a three-point play.””

    Said Budinger: “”I think when someone gets on me like that it gives me more motivation.””

    Attacking the lane with ferocity, Budinger drew four fouls in the first 4:04 of the second half, helping to crank up the Beavers’ foul total to 13 in the half – one more than the Wildcats had all game.

    Budinger visited the charity stripe 10 times in the second half, sinking his last nine shots.

    “”Chase is 19 years old, and what he needs to learn is that he has abilities other than pin-down shots, other than spot-shooting,”” O’Neill said. “”And he showed that in the second half.

    “”He was tough, he was tenacious, he was nard-nosed,”” O’Neill added.

    Hill also scored 20 points, with 12 of his coming in the second half, despite collecting four fouls in the game. The 6-foot-10 sophomore also pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.

    Hill gave the Wildcats a 49-48 lead at the 8:50 mark in the second half with a monster dunk over 6-foot-8 forward Marcel Jones, which was the No. 1 play on SportsCenter‘s “”Top 10 Plays”” Thursday night.

    “”That is my game,”” Hill said. “”I have to come out and jump on them and do what I have to do. I was getting open in the box – get the ball and go up and go strong and handle my business.””

    The Wildcats didn’t look back after Hill’s dunk. But the game wasn’t a lock down by any means until then.

    The Beavers went into halftime with a six-point advantage, even though they shot worse (41.4 percent) than the Wildcats (43.5 percent) from the floor. It was the sixth time this season the Wildcats went into the locker room trailing and the third time they came out as victors.

    OSU was led by the offensive drive of forward Omari Johnson, who led all scorers at the half with 11, along with a team-high five rebounds. The freshman playing in just his fifth collegiate game because of an injured right cheekbone finished the game with a team-high 19 points and nine boards.

    Though the Wildcats showed intensity throughout the first 20 minutes, they couldn’t get ahead of the Beavers. At the 15:26 mark, Arizona tied the game at six on a Hill reverse layup. Hill ran down the court, contested a shot and got the rebound in a diving effort.

    “”Jordan Hill, in three years, is going to be a very, very good basketball player,”” O’Neill said. “”… He does make mistakes, like young players do, but he tries hard all the time and he plays hard and that, to me, makes up for a lot of mistakes.””

    But with the lack of Budinger’s first-half production, the Beavers, who were chosen in the preseason to finish last in the Pac-10 this season, led for all but 17 seconds in the first half.

    “”I was pleased with the effort tonight,”” said OSU head coach Jay John, a former UA assistant coach and a graduate of the school. “”We are gradually building chemistry on this young team. I thought we came out early and took it to them. We just weren’t able to close tonight.””

    Arizona’s lone trey in the first half came from Nic Wise, who hit all three of his shots from beyond the arc after starting at point guard in place of Bayless. Wise finished the game with career highs in points (17) and steals (five), and also dished out six assists.

    Guard Jawann McClellan chipped in with 10 points, but the team’s emotional leader did not leave the arena pleased with Arizona’s performance.

    “”We can play much better than this,”” McClellan said. “”We got the win, but we can’t be satisfied.””

    And 1

    Arizona forward Bret Brielmaier started and played for the first time since Dec. 22 when he separated his shoulder against San Diego State. He had four points and six rebounds in 25 minutes …

    Johnson started for OSU in place of C.J. Giles, a Kansas transfer who was suspended for showing up late to practice twice, according to The Oregonian.

    “”We could have used C.J. tonight,”” John said, “”but when you show up late for two practices it is a pretty easy call.”” …

    O’Neill didn’t use a bench player until 10:06 into the game. …

    76-63 has been the final score in Arizona’s last two games, with the Wildcats losing at No. 2 Memphis by that tally Saturday before beating the Beavers. …

    O’Neill wore a tie with orange stripes in it while coaching against an OSU squad whose colors are orange and black.

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