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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Arizona avoids late-game funk, ‘déjÇÿ vu’ of sorts”

    The UA men’s basketball team led by 16 points mid-way through the second half in its 106-97 win against No. 23 Washington on Thursday night, but the Huskies cut the lead to 3 points with 1:51 to go.

    McKale Center became humid, but it wasn’t the weather. It was sweating palms.

    The Wildcats were just coming off of an overtime win against Houston in which they erased a 10-point deficit with less than a minute left in regulation.

    “”I was just thinking déjÇÿ vu, but flip-flopped,”” said UA forward Chase Budinger.

    But Arizona persevered, went up by as much as 11 again, then won by 9.

    The down-to-the-wire finishes the last two games help balance Arizona’s four losses by 6 points or less – with three of them coming by a point apiece.

    “”Why not use these two wins as confidence to get us over that hump, to get us over losing those close games and not winning them, and use it as motivation?”” Budinger asked.

    The game was very physical, with 71 shots coming at the free-throw line, thanks to 55 personal fouls.

    “”They were pushing it down our throat, we were trying not to foul and we did some,”” said UA interim head coach Russ

    Pennell. “”… I just thought we were playing smart enough basketball, even though we played a couple hiccups, I never did feel like, ‘Wow, we’re in trouble.'””

    The team’s preparation for the Huskies, Pennell said, is what kept the Wildcats afloat. After beating Houston, Arizona players didn’t come into practice emotional or very vocal, but instead, got right to work.

    “”There was really nothing like that,”” Pennell said. “”It was really a business-like approach. They came in, they got their work done, had good practices, shut down and went home.

    “”I felt real good about our preparation, and I thought we would play well tonight,””

    Pennell added. “”… I would have been very, very shocked if we didn’t play like we did tonight.””

    The Wildcats got the attention of UW head coach Lorenzo Romar, too.

    “”This is an Arizona team that feels that they are better than their record indicates and they are,”” he said. “”They came out and showed that.””

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