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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A Sun Devil scare in Tempe

    UA forward Chase Budinger dunks during the second half of Arizonas 61-58 win over ASU last night in Tempe. Budinger tallied 23 points and nabbed six rebounds in 38 minutes.
    UA forward Chase Budinger dunks during the second half of Arizona’s 61-58 win over ASU last night in Tempe. Budinger tallied 23 points and nabbed six rebounds in 38 minutes.

    TEMPE – In a cat-and-mouse game from the opening tip, the Wildcats managed to hold off Sun Devil rally after Sun Devil rally in a 61-58 win last night, preventing their second three-game losing streak of the year.

    Every time Arizona (18-9, 9-7 Pacific 10 Conference) threatened to pull away, ASU (7-20, 1-15) answered back before coming just short in the end.

    “”The game was back and forth. They made it close throughout the whole game,”” said UA forward Chase Budinger, who had 23 points. “”In the end, we kind of pulled away, but they kept on fighting back. They were right in it until the very end.””

    With the victory, Arizona pulled out only its second win by five points or fewer – the other coming Feb. 10 at Oregon – while ASU’s tough luck in close contests continued, losing its 11th game by five or fewer.

    “”It was a win. That’s what we need right now,”” said UA head coach Lute Olson. “”The game reminded me a little bit of the Oregon game, in which everything that needed to be done, they did down the stretch, so I’m proud of our guys.””

    Arizona is tied with Stanford for fifth in the Pac-10 standings, a half-game behind fourth-place Oregon.

    After the Wildcats went on an 11-3 run to take a 58-49 lead with three minutes left, the Sun Devils made their final charge. Guards Derek Glasser and Christian Polk both hit 3-pointers, but Polk’s 3-pointer to tie with 30 seconds left just rimmed out after the Sun Devils ran the shot clock down.

    Even then, the Wildcats failed to slam the door shut.

    UA forward Ivan Radenovic missed the front end of a one-and-one, but ASU could not take advantage with forward Jeff Pendergraph missing a contested hook with seven seconds left. Forward Bret Brielmaier grabbed the rebound and was fouled.

    After Brielmaier hit his first free throw, Olson called timeout to tell Arizona not to contest ASU’s final shot.

    But Williams did just that, fouling Glasser on a 3 that just barely missed becoming a game-tying four-point play. Glasser managed to hit all three free throws despite trying to miss the final one by banking it hard off the glass, helping Arizona close out the win.

    Whenever the Wildcats needed a basket, it often came from Williams or Budinger. The duo combined for 42 points.

    Budinger dunked off an inbounds pass after the Sun Devils closed to within three with four minutes left. Williams followed by starting off a four-point possession with a steal and getting an intentional foul, in which both forwards knocked down a pair of free throws.

    “”When one of us gets going, it makes it easier for the other one,”” Williams said. “”It’s hard to guard two wings and focus on both of them at the same time. Once we start clicking, I think it’s going to be a long March for us, and that’s what we’re trying to do.””

    Forward Jordan Hill was limited by foul trouble, scoring two points and grabbing two rebounds in 11 minutes. He picked up his fourth foul with 18:35 left in the second half and sat for most of the remainder of the game.

    In his place, Brielmaier stepped up with a career game, as the junior set career highs in points (eight), rebounds (six) and minutes (27) while playing tough defense on Pendergraph.

    “”We got a great game off the bench from Bret Brielmaier,”” Olson said.

    Said Brielmaier: “”The biggest thing about that was the win today. Everyone’s got to contribute, and today was my day to help out off the bench.””

    The Wildcats jumped on ASU with a 7-0 run to start the game, as ASU started all of its seniors, including two outside of its playing rotation.

    After the Devils cut the lead to 14-10 off a multitude of UA turnovers – eight in the first 8:13 – Arizona went on an 8-2 run to stretch its lead to 22-12 with seven minutes left.

    That’s when ASU forward Serge Angounou struck.

    Angounou scored ASU’s next eight points, helping the Devils go on an 8-2 run that ballooned into a 16-6 spurt to tie the game at 28.

    “”It’s a big (win),”” Williams said. “”We want to make sure we get onto some type of winning streak going into the (NCAA) Tournament.””

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