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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    1991: Wildcats move to Sweet 16

     March 19, 1991 — Salt Lake City — Facing a player like Brigham Young’s 7-foot-6 Shawn Bradley might be something you can never really get used to.

    People who can grab hold of the rim while not leaving the floor just don’t come along very often. Bradley, who set an NCAA freshman record for blocked shots in a season and had 10 against Virginia on Thursday, has frustrated opposing centers and demoralized would be drivers all season.

    That was until Saturday against No. 8 Arizona in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Brian Williams finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals as Arizona used a 28-13 second half run to defeat the Cougars, 76-61 before 14,869 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Bradley, meanwhile, fouled out with 5:39 remaining after scoring 10 points and pulling down nine rebounds.

    The 28-6 Wildcats will meet Seton hall, 81-69 winners over Creighton, in the West Region semifinals Thursday in Seattle.

    While Bradley may present problems never encountered by most teams, Arizona coach Lute Olson had said all along his team was up to the task.

    “”We play against shot blockers in practice,”” Olson said. “”That’s a luxury for us because we have always faced at least one and usually two great shot blockers in practice””.””

    The 6-foot-11 Williams worked on Bradley and forward Steve Schreiner offensively while 6-foot-11 Sean Rooks and 7-foot Ed Stokes rotated on BYU’s center on the defensive end.

    Perhaps just as important as taking Bradley out of his game — and the then out of the game — was the job done on Schreiner, the 6-foot-7 All-Western Athletic Conference forward and the Cougars best all-around player. Schreiner picked up his fourth foul with more than 13 minutes remaining and was either on the bench or ineffective the rest of the game, finishing with eight points.

    Schreiner was saddled with his fourth just as the Wildcats were beginning their game-deciding run. Down 36-35 shortly after the opening of ht second half, Stokes completed a three-point play, Rooks hit two free throws, Williams made a hook shot and Khalid Reeves nailed a 10-foot jumper to put Arizona up 44-36. BYU got no closer than four the rest of the way as the Wildcats pushed their lead to as much as 16 points.

    “”We just knew we had to start getting psyched up and play hard,”” rooks said of Arizona’s run. “”We knew BYU was a tough team and it could go to the end.””

    “”It was a gut check,”” Williams said. “”You come out and play or you go home.””

    Arizona is now back in the Sweet 16 for the first time in two years. Ironically, it was in Seattle three years ago that Arizona clinched its first Final Four spot.

    “”I think the biggest thing is we feel good about ourselves, about the way we’re paying,”” Olson said. “”Seattle was the road to get to the Final Four the first time and our guys really like it up there.”” 

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