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Tuesday November 21, 2000

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Arizona routs Chaminade in season opener

Headline Photo


Wildcat sophomore guard Jason Gardner leads a fast break against Marathon last Friday at McKale Center. Gardner and the UA men's basketball team take on Dayton today in the second round of the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.

By Chris Martin

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Balance plays leads UA in 40-point win

LAHAINA, Hawaii - It is hard to make a national statement against a Division II opponent, but that is exactly what the UA men's basketball team accomplished when it faced off against Chaminade in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.

Using a nine-man rotation, the No. 1 Wildcats were able to dominate the Silverswords, 97-57 in front of a contingent of Arizona fans at the LahainaCivic Center.

"For us to be out there and just play and show people that we are 100 percent and that we can play is real exciting," UA junior forward Richard Jefferson said.

Jefferson led a balanced scoring attack with 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting to pace the Wildcats. Aside from Jefferson, four other UA players reached double-digits in the game - junior forward Michael Wright, sophomore guards Gilbert Arenas and Jason Gardner, and senior forward Eugene Edgerson.

"The top nine guys worked really hard," UA head coach Lute Olson said. "I didn't feel anybody looking out for themselves on offense."

Even without preseason All-American center Loren Woods, who is currently on suspension by the NCAA, the Wildcats controlled the game from the onset and never looked back, dictating the tempo of play on both ends of the court.

Arizona held a 20-point lead for most of the first half on a variety of put backs and short jumpers. The Wildcats exploded out of the gate in the second half and increased the lead to 27 within the first seven minutes of the half.

The key to the half was Wright and Edgerson's ability to continually control the paint and grab rebounds over the shorter Chaminade players.

Wright finished the game with a Maui Invitational record, 19 rebounds - nine of which were offensive. Ron Reis of Santa Clara set the previous record in 1990 with 18.

"In the first five minutes I got like six rebounds, so I knew I was going to have double digit rebounds," Wright said. "I just laid it upon myself to clean the glass."

With nine players logging 15 or more minutes, the Wildcats were able to wear down the Silverswords in the second half and force them to turnover the ball 18 times in the game.

The biggest factor in Arizona's win though was its swarming defense that forced Chaminade to play mainly behind the three-point arc.

"I was please with the defensive effort of are team - I thought everyone worked hard," Olson said.

Chaminade senior guard C.J. Cowgill led the Silverswords in scoring with 16 points on 4-for-8 shooting behind the arc.

A tougher test awaits the Wildcats today when the team faces Dayton. The Flyers shocked No. 13 Connecticut, 80-66 behind the play of senior center Yuanta Holland and senior guard Tony Stanley yesterday afternoon.

With Dayton's win, the Flyers have lined up another tough challenge like their game against the Huskies.

"They are a tremendous collection of players and they are coached by a great coach," Flyers head coach Oliver Purnell said of Arizona. "They look a lot like U-Conn to me."

Dayton will seek to defeat its second straight ranked opponent tonight at 7:30 against Arizona.

Chris Martin can be reached at