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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UCLA drubs Wildcats

    Arizonas Ivan Radenovic tries to grab a loose ball from UCLAs Ryan Hollins during the first half of Arizonas semi-final Pac-10 Tournament game against UCLA, Friday, March 10, 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)
    Chris Coduto
    Arizona’s Ivan Radenovic tries to grab a loose ball from UCLA’s Ryan Hollins during the first half of Arizona’s semi-final Pac-10 Tournament game against UCLA, Friday, March 10, 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

    LOS ANGELES – It could have been a huge game for the Arizona men’s basketball team, but an overpowering Bruins and an absent Hassan Adams put the Wildcats on an early flight home to Tucson Friday.

    The fourth-seeded Wildcats (19-12) lost to top-seeded UCLA (26-6) 71-59 in a game of total domination from the Bruins, who out-shot, out-hustled and outplayed the Cats by every measurable margin.

    “”There is no question the better team won,”” said head coach Lute Olson. “”They were just a whole lot more physical than we were.””

    The Wildcats carded their second consecutive game without a single fast-break point, something unfamiliar to a team that is known for its run-and-gun offense.

    With no points on the run, Arizona had to find them elsewhere, but was out-scored in the paint 36-16.

    “”(Friday) we figured out that they were more physical than us at the end of the game and it was too late,”” junior forward Ivan Radenovic, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, said.

    Radenovic’s point total was only surpassed by freshman forward Marcus Williams, who had a career-high 25 points on 9-19 shooting, the only spark that kept Arizona somewhat afloat.

    Williams and Radenovic combined for 42 of the team’s 59 points, with struggles coming from the starting guard positions and from the lack of a bench, which scored only four points to a UCLA bench that notched 26.

    “”We had our struggles from the bench and on the court, so you know, when we take a look at our starting guards and they are 4-16 (shooting), our bench was more productive, they were 2-4. Maybe we needed our bench a little bit more,”” Olson said.

    Junior guard Mustafa Shakur, who has had arguably his best two games of the season previous to UCLA, never got in rhythm, going 2-7 from the field with as many points, five, as turnovers.

    “”I think that probably not their quickness as much as their physical play took (Shakur) out of his game,”” Olson said. “”He’s a competitor and you know, they are banging him around, he sometimes takes that as a personal challenge…and he does too much.””

    Arizona struggled to find offense outside of their two forwards, mainly because of the absence of senior guard Hassan Adams, who has been suspended the last two games because of a drunken driving arrest.

    With the Pac-10 Tournament behind the Wildcats, and the NCAA Tournament in their near future, Williams said it will be great to have Adams back on the court.

    “”He’s a big key to our offense, I mean, 17 points (a game), that’s a big shoe to fill,”” Williams said. “”It’s going to be great to have him back, he’s a big part of our program.””

    Arizona will find out Sunday if it will be invited to the big dance with an at-large bid, which should be secured because of Arizona’s strength of schedule.

    Regardless of who the first-round opponent is or where the team is seeded, Williams said he is more excited than nervous about the prospect of playing in tournament.

    “”I’m excited, I’ve never played in the NCAA Tournament before, so I don’t really care who we play,”” the Seattle, Wash. native said.

    With a disappointing loss to the Bruins, Olson said he is just going to try and find something that can make the Pac-10 proud during the NCAA Tournament.

    “”We will be anxious to get back and get to work and hopefully do a good job for the league and in the playoffs,”” Olson said.

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