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Cats win it ugly, 83-75

SAUL LOEB/Arizona Daily Wildcat

Junior UA forward Rick Anderson battles ASU senior center Chad Prewitt for a rebound last night in McKale Center. The Wildcats exacted revenge on the Sun Devils, 83-75, to end their two-game losing streak.

By Jeff Lund
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday Feb. 21, 2002

Wildcats escape with win in physical battle.

There have been plenty of impressive comebacks in McKale Center this season.

Fortunately for Arizona, there wasn't one tonight. Arizona State's second-half rally from 18 down came up short as the Wildcats held off the Sun Devils, 83-75.

"(ASU) is tough," head coach Lute Olson said. "I've said it all along. They make it hard for you to do your stuff."

Arizona looked like it would run away with the game after jumping out to a 38-21 lead.

Then emotions boiled over.

Junior forward Luke Walton had the ball stripped in the post, and a pile-up ensued. Arizona State junior guard Kyle Dodd then jumped into the action. Dodd had to be pulled off the pile and restrained by teammates.

When the dust cleared, Walton was called for a foul, and Dodd was whistled for a technical and ejected from the game after officials reviewed the replay of the ordeal.

Sparked by Dodd's ejection at the 6:01 mark in the first half, the Sun Devils responded with a steady run to get back in the game.

Olson said his team lacked emotion following the ejection of Dodd.

"It took a long time for (the officials) to sort it out," Olson said. "(ASU) kept their emotion high. I don't think we came out with the fire we needed."

Arizona scored just two points from the field in the half following the skirmish, but hit seven of nine from the free-throw line to keep an 11-point lead heading into halftime.

In the second half, Arizona State came out with a fire and used a 13-3 run to pull to within one at 49-48 with 14:08 left to play.

Junior guard Curtis Millage hit a shot with 9:35 to give ASU its first lead of the game.

The teams traded buckets until freshman forward Dennis Latimore broke a 62-62 tie with 8:47 left in the game.

Arizona never trailed again, but Arizona State kept the game close.

It wasn't until freshman guard Salim Stoudamire tipped in a Walton miss with 39 seconds remaining that Arizona put the game away.

"That was the key," Olson said of Stoudamire's tip in. "That and the ability to hit free throws down the stretch."

It was far from a career game for Walton and fellow junior Jason Gardner.

Walton and Gardner were a combined 6-23 from the field, but the two dished out all of the team's 16 assists.

It was Stoudamire who answered the call on offense, scoring 24 points on 6-9 shooting and 3-4 from 3-point land.

Stoudamire played 33 minutes despite battling cramps for much of the game.

Olson also pointed out the inside play of freshman center Isaiah Fox as one of the decisive factors in the win.

"Fox gave us what we needed with the 12 rebounds," Olson said. "Every time the ball was up, we were pursuing. That doesn't mean you will get all of them, but we were pursuing."

With the win, Arizona keeps pace with the Pac-10 front-runners, heading into an eight-day layoff before the final weekend home games against Stanford and California.


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