By Roman Veytsman
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
From left: Ivan Radenovic, Chris Rodgers and Kirk Walters watch the final seconds tick off the clock during the second half of Arizona's game against Washington Saturday in Bank of America Arena in Seattle.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 28, 2005
SEATTLE - Lost amid the fallout from Saturday's loss to Washington and Thursday's win over Washington State was the play of Arizona senior center Channing Frye, who arguably played the two best games of his college career.
Shedding any label of softness his critics have often put on him, Frye followed a 26-point, career-high-tying performance against the Cougars with a 30-point, career-high slate against the Huskies.
Frye's game was even more impressive with the thought of the Washington student section invading his personal privacy with not only taunts, but also a sign disclosing his phone number.
Every time he went to the free-throw line, Frye was harassed with a synchronized chant of the number. But he remained undaunted, knocking down all four free throws he attempted, and in typical Frye fashion, deflecting the attention from the fans by laughing it off.
"I got to tip my hat for them, for all the little funny things they said to me. It was kind of amusing," Frye said. "Too bad they don't get to do it again."
Frye made a combined 24 of 28 shots from the field during the Washington trip, keeping Arizona alive against the Huskies and helping the Wildcats avoid an upset at Washington State.
"Channing Frye was the difference, as he has been so many times in the past against us," Washington State head coach Dick Bennett told The Associated Press after the game.
At 15.3 points per game, Frye is eighth in the Pacific 10 Conference in scoring and is in the top five in the Pac-10 in rebounding, blocked shots and free throw percentage.
"He had a fantastic weekend. He is an all-league player and a NBA player," said Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar on Thursday.
After saying he had missed too many layups earlier in the season, Frye has dunked the ball repeatedly, throwing down five against the Huskies as part of Arizona's 58 points in the paint.
In each half against Washington, Frye started off the Arizona scoring with a dunk, setting the tone for a variety of jump hooks, baseline spins and perimeter jump shots.
Without Frye's jumper at the end of the Washington State game, which tied the game at 49, Arizona might have come out of the road trip without a win.
"He had two great performances up here," said Arizona head coach Lute Olson.
Even though Frye put up enviable numbers, he downplayed his game because of the loss.
"I think I've had better games where I've scored less and done more for my team and come out with two wins," he said.
Olson said the Wildcats should have gotten Frye the ball more because he was dominating inside, but Frye had faith in his teammates.
"If they give me the ball, they give me the ball. If they don't, there must be a reason. I have trust in my teammates," Frye said.
Still, coaches noticed Frye failed to be physical with the Huskies at crucial points.
"In the first half, when we were struggling getting open, he needed to do a better job of flashing to the ball," said assistant coach Josh Pastner, who coaches the Arizona big men. "He had a great field goal percentage the last two games, but he's still got a long way to go."
While Frye's statistical numbers were high, some wanted to know about the other number coursing through the Washington crowd.
"Oh yeah, that's so funny," he said sarcastically. "Regardless of what they said about me, I'll probably go out there and say hello to them. I'm out there just to play."