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UA Men's Hoops: The whole tooth: Frye OK

Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Channing Frye holds his mouth after having a tooth knocked loose by Oregon's Ian Crosswhite during the second half of Arizona's 100-87 win over Oregon at MacArthur Court in Eugene, Ore.
By Christopher Wuensch
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
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Channing Frye has a message for the youth of America: Wear your protective equipment.

The Arizona center suffered what head team trainer Justin Kokoskie described as a "mouth contusion" after a collision with Oregon's Ian Crosswhite during the Wildcats' 100-87 win Thursday over the Ducks.

"Kids need to wear a mouth piece," Frye quipped.

The injury to Frye's left front tooth won't cause the 6-foot-11 junior to miss any playing time, said team doctors. Frye saw a dentist yesterday and will need to wear a protective mouthpiece for the remainder of the season, but not the large green one he wore against Oregon State.

"I have a special one that's a lot smaller," Frye said. "It's clear, so you won't be able to see it."

Frye attributed the injury to the physical aspect of his playing style.

"Getting hit in the mouth was just a sign of me going out there and doing whatever to help my team get the win," he said.

"I try to keep my space because when you're a shot blocker, you don't want to let them get too close to the body," Frye added. "I stepped in front of (Crosswhite) to get the block or charge, and he just hit me with his head."

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Frye, who admitted he never wore a mouthpiece before, said it would take a lot more than a few missing teeth to keep him out of the Wildcats' lineup.

"It's fine," Frye said of his tooth. "It was fine after the game."

"He could have knocked half my teeth out and I still would have gone in and tried to play."

Arizona down in polls

Splitting the team's last conference road trip of the season did not bode well for Arizona, which fell once again in the national polls.

The Wildcats find themselves ranked No. 17 in The Associated Press rankings and No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll after defeating Oregon and losing to Oregon State last week.

Arizona, previously ranked No. 14 in the AP poll, finds itself at its lowest ranking of the year after beginning the 2003-04 campaign ranked No. 4 in the nation. The Wildcats' previous low came two weeks ago, when they were tabbed at No. 16.

The Wildcats (17-7, 9-6 Pacific 10 Conference) find themselves clinging to a one-game lead for second place in the Pac-10 over the Washington Huskies, who the Wildcats will face Thursday. The seven losses for head coach Lute Olson's squad are the most in one season for the Wildcats since finishing the 2001-02 year 24-10 overall and 12-6 in the Pac-10.

To match that conference record this year, the Wildcats will need to sweep the remainder of their games. Arizona's final three regular season contests are at home against Washington, Washington State and Arizona State.

Wildcats fail to sweep

Winning its first Thursday conference road game of the season wasn't enough for Arizona to avoid a dubious distinction.

After a dominating performance over the Ducks, the Wildcats were unable to shoot down Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., two days later. The loss to the Beavers marked the first time since the 1998-99 season the Wildcats didn't sweep at least one road trip in the Pac-10.

It's just the fourth time in the Lute Olson era that a Wildcat squad has finished with a losing conference road record (4-5).

Arizona is 6-6 away from McKale Center this season.

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