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Arizona breezes past Lithuanian team


Nicholas Valenzuela
Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA freshman point guard Jason Gardner goes up for an easy bucket in yesterday's 96-44 exhibition win over Alytus Alita, a Lithuanian club team. Gardner, who had six points and seven assists, teamed up with roommate and freshman guard Gilbert Arenas to lead Arizona's backcourt in the 52-point rout.

By Bryan Rosenbaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 8, 1999
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After nearly a month of practicing against each other, the UA men's basketball players wanted to test themselves against someone else.

After Sunday's 96-44 exhibition win over Alytus Alita of Lithuania, the Wildcats had a better idea of where they are at and how much further they need to go before the regular season starts next week.

"The first thing I look at is that it was our first game and how we were able to jump on them early by being very aggressive," sophomore swing forward Richard Jefferson said. "This was only our first game and that really showed in some places. We made a lot of first-game mistakes."

Fortunately, the opposition wasn't good enough to take advantage of those mistakes, as Arizona cruised to a 52-point victory with overpowering strength and athleticism.

The freshman guard combination of Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas, who dubbed themselves as "Batman and Robin," but were at odds on which one of them was Batman and which one was Robin, started the game and played solidly the whole way through.

Arenas finished as the game's top scorer with 16 points and also pulled down eight rebounds. Gardner had six points, coming on two three-pointers, and seven assists.

Junior center Loren Woods had 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while Jefferson had 15 points and six rebounds.

Head coach Lute Olson made the decision not to dress sophomore guard Ruben Douglas, but would not comment any further on the issue until after practice today.

Olson was especially pleased with redshirt freshman forward Luke Walton, who had nine points and four rebounds. More importantly, Walton was able to adjust to a number of different playing combinations used, Olson said.

"I liked the way Luke Walton played," he said. "No matter who he was in there with, he made them play better. He's going to be vital for us."

Freshman center Robertas Javtokas, playing against his countrymen, finished with four points and six rebounds.

"Robertas was a little nervous because he was playing against his own national team, but played well," Woods said.

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