By Roman Veytsman
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Chris Rodgers celebrates during Arizona's win over Oregon last night in McKale Center. Rogers had a career-high nice assists, three steals and 11 points in 29 minutes.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, February 18, 2005
Breakdown: UA inside, outside game works to perfection
The Arizona big men took the quack out of the Oregon Ducks from the start of the Wildcats' 92-67 victory last night in McKale Center.
Senior center Channing Frye was the emphasis of the Wildcat attack, starting the game with the team's first six points and opening up opportunities for the rest of the team.
Frye finished the game with 19 points and a career-high seven blocks, but it was his establishment of post position that keyed the UA offense.
"We want to establish it on the inside because they're always going to be attacking Salim," Frye said. "We were just trying to go over the top and go high-low. We had great passing from Sauce (Hassan Adams), from Ivan (Radenovic), from C-Ro (Chris Rodgers) and from Salim."
Oregon's depleted roster, fresh off the permanent suspension of 7-foot forward Ian Crosswhite, left it with little defense against Frye and Radenovic.
The Wildcats scored 42 points in the paint, often on Frye's layups and dunks. Even when Frye, who shot 8-of-14 from the floor, missed layups, the Wildcats rebounded and finished aggressively with dunks.
"We know we can make layups, but we always miss them because we're so used to dunking all the time," Frye said. "So I guess we're just going to have to dunk everything from now on."
The Ducks changed defenses numerous times, going from a box-in-one on Stoudamire to a 2-3 zone and then to a man-to-man defense, even mixing in a three-quarter court trap.
No matter what defense was thrown out, Arizona was able to get the ball inside.
"They tried to mix it up on us, but one thing coach always tells us is don't let that slow us up or change our game," Adams said.
Arizona's high-low offense was consistently effective, with either Adams or Radenovic catching the ball at the top of the key and throwing passes to Frye or Kirk Walters down low. The Wildcats got 22 assists on their 35 field goals, often catching the Ducks overplaying the big man down low.
"It works out because they were real spread out on their zone and the middle was wide open," Adams said. "I had a shot or I was dumping it down to Channing. The high-low, when they double, kick it back out. That's what team basketball is about.
"Channing wasn't forcing anything and that's big," Adams said. "That's having faith in your team to knock down shots.
When Frye did kick it out, Arizona knocked down open looks, especially Oregon-native Chris Rodgers, who not only scored 11 points, but also had a career-high nine assists.
Rodgers said it was just another game for him, but the junior guard knew people at home were watching and he was pleased with his performance.
"I just try to take every team the same away, but it's always a bonus to make (good plays) against where you grew up," Rodgers said.
Rodgers was able to catch the Oregon defense napping at times, at one point throwing a no-look pass to Adams for a wide-open layup.
"On this team I might not be the guy that gets to shoot all the time, but I can set other people up," Rodgers said.
Frye wasn't the only one scoring down low. When Frye came out, sophomore center Kirk Walters showed flashes of the player he has shown himself to be in practice.
Walters had five points in seven minutes, and his field goals were both inside dunks.
"I told you guys he was good, but no one wanted to believe me. I kind of taught him everything he knows," Frye said with a smile. "He's still growing up, and I think you see how good he can be at times."
With Frye and Walters packing the punch down low, and Rodgers and Stoudamire knocking down open looks, the Wildcats inside-outside game was too much for the height-challenged Ducks last night.