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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The ‘Chase’ begins in Arizona win

    Freshman forward Chase Budinger flies in for a dunk in the first half of No. 15 Arizonas 101-79 win over NAU last night in McKale Center. Budinger scored 23 of his game-high 32 points in the first half.
    Freshman forward Chase Budinger flies in for a dunk in the first half of No. 15 Arizona’s 101-79 win over NAU last night in McKale Center. Budinger scored 23 of his game-high 32 points in the first half.

    There was no new starting lineup for the No. 15 Arizona men’s basketball team, contrary to what Lute Olson hinted Tuesday, but Chase Budinger made sure Arizona’s lineup is just fine the way it is.

    The freshman scored 32 points in the Wildcats’ home-opening 101-79 win against NAU (1-2) in front of 13,511 in McKale Center, the smallest crowd since March 11, 1989, before McKale seating was expanded.

    Budinger scored the first bucket of the game on a short jumper and didn’t stop, pouring in 15 points in the first 10 minutes and 23 points in the first half, which is believed to be a UA freshman record, on his way to 32 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats (1-1).

    When he took a seat on the bench with under 10 minutes to go in the second half, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    The UA head coach Olson talked with Budinger before the game and told him to be more aggressive, especially after Budinger scored just two points in the second half of his first game.

    “”I said, ‘You’re our Sean Elliott, you can’t worry about whether you’re outscoring the sophomores, juniors or seniors. You have to be a key guy for us,'”” Olson said.

    After Olson’s speech, Budinger shot 11-for-15 from the field in 29 minutes and made 5-of 6 3-point attempts.

    “”I said, ‘You’re our Sean Elliott, you can’t worry about whether you’re outscoring the sophomores, juniors or seniors.””

    – Lute Olson
    UA head coach
    on Budinger

    After leading 48-40 at halftime, Arizona’s second-half performance did not resemble its second-half failures Sunday at Virginia. The Wildcats held NAU, who was led by guard Stephen Sir’s 17 points, to 32.4 percent shooting in the half.

    “”It was a lot better on the defensive end in the second half,”” senior point guard Mustafa Shakur said. “”That’s what coach really stressed to us at halftime, just telling us that we really have to get down and dig down because we can blow the game if we don’t take it serious.””

    Shakur scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half and almost finished with a triple-double, filling the box score with 20 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

    But the night belonged to Budinger. The smooth wing from California filled it up from the perimeter and found ways to get to the basket when the shot didn’t present itself.

    “”In the Virginia game, I took the shots I had open and same tonight, but tonight my teammates found me a little more and I was feeling it and I was knocking down shots,”” he said.

    Starting with a make on his first attempt didn’t hurt either.

    “”I made my first shot tonight, and that’s always a good sign,”” Budinger said. “”It gives me confidence in my shooting, and that’s what happened tonight.””

    Arizona outscored NAU 32-11 over an 8:08 period in the second half, taking a 30-point lead before cruising to the 22-point victory. Olson said he would go with a different lineup on Wednesday but the UA head coach didn’t have the services of Kirk Walters, who is out indefinitely with Mononucleosis.

    Forward Ivan Radenovic played sparingly in the first half after picking up his second foul, in an off-ball situation, on a play he said was a “”flop,”” and Marcus Williams was yanked from the game after two minutes in the second half as Olson let his sophomore forward hear it on the sidelines.

    To start the second half, Olson went with a taller lineup, inserting freshman forward Jordan Hill and sitting guard Jawann McClellan, largely because he didn’t record a rebound in the first half. Hill ended with eight points, four rebounds and three blocks as well as numerous shots adjusted.

    “”Jordan came in and gave us a lot of defensive intensity out there as far as making up for people’s mistakes,”” Shakur said. “”They got beat and he got blocks, and that’s something that we’ve been missing since Channing has been gone.””

    Williams, meanwhile, scored six points in 19 minutes before Olson pulled his leading returning scorer.

    “”The other guys – when we sub, they played really well and when that happens, that’s the chance you take if you’re not playing as well as you can, somebody else will hopefully step up,”” Olson said. “”It was a case of where we subbed for him, and that proved quite well today.””

    In the first half, the Wildcats got out to a 19-7 lead, marking their second straight hot start, and after NAU cut the lead to 19-13, Arizona went on a 14-5 run to build a 13-point lead.

    When NAU ran off mini-spurts of six points to make it 33-25 and five points later to make it 41-34, Budinger was there with an answer, the first time on a dunk and the second time on a 3-pointer.

    Arizona scored 100 points for the first time since a 105-75 win Dec. 21, 2004 against Manhattan thanks to a David Bagga 3-pointer with under a minute left.

    “”We came out energized in the second half, and we didn’t want what happened in the second half of Virginia to happen tonight,”” Budinger said. “”So we just got after it.””

    And 1

    The student section wasn’t as empty as it was in the first two exhibition games but only an estimated 700 out of slightly under 2,600 attended.

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