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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Crimson Tide whips Wildcats, 77-55”

    MARCH 19, 1990 – LONG BEACH, Calif. – The University of Arizona basketball team can now place its name in the company of Georgetown, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas and Oklahoma.

    All were top teams during the regular season and all are now out of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. The Wildcats joined the afore-mentioned upset victims after losing 77-55 to the University of Alabama yesterday at Long Beach Arena.

    The Crimson Tide out-rebounded the Wildcats 40-27 for the game and held Arizona to 29 percent shooting in the second half.

    “”It was a case of too much quickness to the ball,”” Arizona coach Lute Olson said. “”We got killed on our defensive boards. It was a concern to me as soon as I saw Alabama play (against Colorado State in the first round Friday). Their quickness was something we had to deal with.””

    The Wildcats couldn’t deal with the Crimson Tide and finished the season 25-7. Alabama is now 26-8 and will take on Loyola Marymount University in the West Regional semifinals Friday in Oakland, Calif. The Lions defeated the University of Michigan 149-115 yesterday.

    Alabama’s hustle enabled the Crimson Tide to take a nine-point lead with 11:06 left in the first half. Arizona shot 52 percent compared to just under 44 percent for Alabama, but the Crimson Tide took 16 more shots to go into the intermission leading 38-33.

    After Alabama extended its lead to nine in the beginning of the second half, the Wildcats scored seven consecutive points. UA sophomore center Sean Rooks made two baskets in the paint, while senior forward Jud Buechler made one of two free throw attempts and freshman center Ed Stokes was good on a pair of foul shots.

    Arizona trailed 44-42 with about 15 minutes remaining, when Alabama went on a 33-13 run to grab a 22-point lead that held up as the final margin.

    “”It was a matter of far and away, and the best team won,”” Olson said. “”The whipped us in pretty much every way you can get whipped.””

    With Arizona being the No. 2 seed in the West Region and Alabama being the seventh see, this would appear to be an upset. But in the NCAA tournament anything can happen – and usually does.

    “”I figured ‘Hey, if we’re going to get to the Final Four or Sweet 16, we’re going to have to beat some good teams,'”” Muehlebach said. “”We didn’t look past Alabama to play Loyola.””

    Arizona now joins all but 16 teams who will have to watch the rest of the tournament form their living rooms.

    “”We played hard,”” Rooks said. “”But everything was just clicking for them.””

    It was clicking all the way to Oakland.


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