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Men's Hoops: Ducks overpowered by tough Wildcat defense

CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Senior center Channing Frye slams it home during No. 10 Arizona's 92-67 squashing of Oregon last night in McKale Center. Frye finished the game with 19 points and a career-high seven blocked shots.
By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, February 18, 2005
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If there was ever a question of the importance of experience, it showed last night in McKale Center.

The Arizona men's basketball team got 41 points from its two top seniors to take advantage of a young Oregon squad in front of a crowd of 14,597.

"Every night is senior night from now on," said senior center Channing Frye, who ended with 19 points, as classmate Salim Stoudamire contributed a game-high 22.

Meanwhile, Oregon started five underclassmen, and all but two of the team's points came from freshmen and sophomores.

"When we step it up on the defensive end, it's hard for a lot of teams, no matter if you have five seniors or five freshmen," Frye said.

Many of the Oregon miscues came as a result of a good Arizona defense. Duck sophomore guard Aaron Brooks committed 10 of Oregon's 19 turnovers.

"The defense really created a lot of opportunities for us," said Arizona head coach Lute Olson.

Frye added a career-high seven blocks for the Wildcats, with five coming in the first half.

Arizona was able to confuse the Ducks using a combination of defenses, switching back and forth from zone to man.

"Defense was the key," Olson said. "That was it. I thought we did a nice job of that."

"I thought the guys did a good job of following my lead as far as defense," said junior guard Chris Rodgers, who ended the game one assist shy of a double-double with 11 points and nine assists. "The guys did a good job of getting in the passing lanes."

Rodgers did his own part on the other side of the ball.

"It was a great job by Chris Rodgers on both ends of the court," Olson said of the junior guard, who finished 3-of-6 from behind the arc. "Because of the way people play Salim, it's going to open a lot of opportunities for other people, and Chris took full advantage."

One bright spot for the Ducks was freshman forward Malik Hairston, who poured in 21 points.

Junior forward Hassan Adams added 17 points of his own, 15 of which came in the second half.

Arizona outscored the Ducks 49-33 in the latter frame, thanks to a 34-16 run in the last 12 minutes that included a stretch when the Wildcats converted three dunks in four trips down the floor.

"That's just a statement for anyone who plays us," Frye said of Arizona's punctuating run. "We're just going to stay aggressive. We're just going to stay on team's necks."

After shooting just 38 percent in the first half, Arizona came back with a 70 percent effort in the second.

"I don't think we were taking the best percentage shots in the first half," Frye said. "We just got adjusted and we just went to business in the second half."

After building a six-point lead with 15 seconds to go in the first half, Stoudamire buried a 3-pointer with time running out to put the Wildcats up 43-34.

The first half saw Arizona take 13 more shots and outscore the Ducks 11-4 in second-chance points.

Arizona gets a day off before taking on Oregon State on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The game was moved back from Saturday so it could be shown on Fox Sports Net.

The contest against the Beavers, and former UA assistant coach and Oregon State head coach Jay John, will be senior night in McKale Center. It is the last regular season home game for Frye, Stoudamire and forward Matt Brase.

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