Arizona Daily Wildcat
Chaminade never expected to defeat Arizona
MAUI - Normally coaches don't expect to lose games. That wasn't the case for
Chaminade head coach Aaron Griess, as his team fell to Arizona 97-57 Monday
in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.
"What happened out there on the floor was in the book before the game
started," Griess said. "It played out exactly how I thought it was going to.
Nothing that we thought we were going to get done got done."
UA easily dominated Division II Chaminade from opening tip-off. The Wildcats
put the game out of reach when they went on a 19-0 run less than half way
through the first half.
Junior forward Richard Jefferson led Arizona in scoring with 16 points as UA
got 10 or more points from five players in its lineup.
UA head coach Lute Olson was more excited about his team's defense though.
"I was pleased by the defensive effort of our team," Olson said. "I thought
everyone worked hard to cover up when we did make mistakes. We got great
rotations, I thought on penetration most of the time."
The loss to Arizona followed by a round two loss to No. 12 Connecticut,
77-61, dropped the Silverswords to 3-44 all-time in the Maui Invitational.
"No matter how you break it down, when you lose a basketball game it is
disappointing," Griess said of the loss to Arizona. "If we would have lost by
10 it would have been disappointing. They were supposed to have beaten us by
40 points. I am just disappointed we didn't compete more."
The player who most impressed Griess was UA power forward Michael Wright, who set a Maui Invitational record with 19 rebounds.
Ron Reis of Santa Clara had held the previous record with 18, which was set
Wright continually out hustled and out rebounded the smaller Chaminade
players while pacing the Wildcats victory.
"This guy (Wright) he got 19 rebounds, we couldn't block him out," Griess
said. "I thought we had some big bodies and (Arizona) is not that much
bigger than us but (Wright) just wanted the ball more."
Olson said the record seemed fitting.
"I am just really pleased for Michael because anyone who is on the team who
watches him practice everyday, he gives you the same kind of effort everyday
in practice that you saw out there on the court (Monday)," Olson said.
Of Wright's 19 rebounds, nine were on the offensive end and were a major
factor in UA's ability in being able to out rebound the Silverswords, 57-28.
The game against Chaminade also allowed Arizona to rest its players for
games against Dayton and possibly No. 8 Illinois.
Jefferson and Wright led the Wildcats in minutes with 26 while every player
in UA's nine-man rotation saw at least 15 minutes of action.
"We had nine guys play 15 minutes of more. We didn't have any of them go
more than 26 and Michael wouldn't have gone 26 if we weren't trying to get
him that (rebounding) record," Olson said. "We shouldn't have to play with
anybody on the court that is the least bit tired or beat."
Senior forward Eugene Edgerson made the most of his 19 minutes by collecting
seven rebounds and contributing 13 points to Arizona's cause.
Olson was also encouraged with the performance of freshman guard Travis
"I am really pleased right now with Travis Hanour," he said. "If you look at
where he's come in four weeks, it's unbelievable. I thought he made some good
defensive plays today. He had much better pressure on the ball than what he
has had before."
Hanour played a total of 15 minutes and scored six points while grabbing
five rebounds in the winning effort.
Sophomore guard Gilbert Arenas finally seems to have gotten out of Olson's
doghouse. After sitting out the Marathon Oil exhibition game for failing to
"fulfill team obligations," Arenas did see 21 minutes of action Monday
Though he didn't start, Arenas scored 15 points on 4-for-11 shooting and
pulled down six rebounds.
"I thought Gilbert played well," Olson said. "He has always been back in the
fold. Whether he's in the starting lineup or not, I don't know. I thought
Gilbert played well but so did a whole lot of guys."
Arenas did start the second half of the Chaminade game and was in the
starting lineup for the Dayton game.
According to Olson though, none of the starting spots on UA's team are set
in stone. The spots can easily be won or lost on play in practice.
"I think these two guys (Wright and Jefferson) will tell you up here that
those starting spots are determined by the effort we see on a regular basis
in practice," Olson said. "We are not interested in press clippings or
anything else. Perform well, if you don't perform you sit and watch the guys
who will perform."