Senior makes most of start, scores 18, grabs 10 rebounds

By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 19, 1996

Never let it be said that Corey Williams can't back up his talk.

With the absence of senior center Joseph Blair, Williams said earlier in the week he was looking forward to playing the power forward position - a departure from his normal spot on the wing.

Williams got his chance Thursday night and churned out an 18-point, 10-rebound performance, scoring from down low and out high and helping lead his team to its 93-81 victory over Southern Cal.

The opportunity was not something new for the 6-foot-6 Williams. He logged most of his time at Batavia (Ill.) High School as a post player, but found life at the major college level a bit rougher going.

"I gained a new respect for what Ben (Davis) and J.B. do," Williams said.

Williams shot just 7 for 16 from the field but scored five of the Wildcats' first nine points en route to 13 first-half points. His five second-half points meant a new career high for the senior. His previous high was 17 last year at Oregon.

Williams brought the crowd of 14,288 to its feet with a 3-pointer that gave the Wildcats a 14-point lead halfway through the second half. One member of the press corps quipped that it was the loudest the crowd had been all year.

Williams also had a career night cleaning shots off the backboard. His 10-rebound performance tied a career high. He has done so twice, the last time coming on the same night as his 17-point output against the Ducks.

"He had some big-time rebounds," Arizona head coach Lute Olson said.

Size was apparently no problem for Williams.

"I had a little bit of freedom," he said. "I'm not a legitimate post man so I could go inside or I could pull my guy outside."

Williams did just that, connecting on three of his six attempts beyond the 3-point line. No one is perfect, however, and Williams was the first person to point that out after the game.

"I'm pleased offensively, but defensively I made some bad decisions," he said.

Olson said that Williams has to coordinate better with Davis on post defense - something that will be critical against UCLA on Saturday.

"We have to step up against UCLA," Williams said. "You think about games you lost last year and it motivates you."