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Men's Hoops: By the skin of their teeth

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Salim Stoudamire (left) and Hassan Adams bump chests in celebration after Stoudamire hit the game winning shot, giving Arizona a 70-68 win over in-state rival ASU Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.
By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, March 7, 2005
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Olson passes Wooden on savior Salim's shot

Salim Stoudamire's game-winning shot over ASU on Saturday with six-tenths of a second remaining accomplished three goals for the No. 11 Arizona men's basketball team.

It won the game over their in-state rival, clinched the Pacific 10 Conference title outright and gave head coach Lute Olson conference win No. 305, passing former UCLA head coach John Wooden to make him the winningest coach in the conference's history.

"It feels great to be winners," said Arizona senior center Channing Frye. "I love winning. Winning is beautiful."

Stoudamire took his time getting off the last shot of the game, but made his 14-foot jumper to give the Wildcats (25-5, 15-3 Pac-10) a 70-68 win over ASU (18-12, 7-11) in front of a divided crowd of 14,141 in Tempe.

With about 45 seconds left in the second half and the game tied at 68, the Wildcats took the ball down the court, knowing they needed a basket on likely their final possession of the game.

Junior forward Hassan Adams missed a layup, and the ball got tipped around and popped out to Stoudamire with about 30 seconds left.

After an Arizona timeout, the ball was back in the hand of the senior guard, who dribbled at midcourt as time dwindled down.

Instead of taking the shot from beyond the arc, in usual Stoudamire fashion, he drove straight down the middle of the lane to the hoop, and drained a double-clutch jumper with less than a second remaining.

"This group has really had a lot of resilience. They're winners," Olson said. "The pressure gets on, and it seems like when we need the big shots, the big shots go."

Stoudamire's game-winning shot was his only field goal of the second half. He scored 18 of his team-high 22 points in the first half.

Adams provided the spark for Arizona in the second half, scoring all 15 of his points and adding seven rebounds.

"The second half is what I do," he said. "The second half of the game wins ball games, so I got to assert myself."

Adams slammed his head on the court two minutes into the second half when ASU junior center Ike Diogu fouled him on an alley-oop attempt.

Adams was slow to get up, but finished the game, and said afterward he was fine.

Both teams were plagued with foul trouble, as Frye and Diogu sat out much of the second half with four fouls.

Frye finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, and Diogu finished with 25 and five, respectively.

As usual, Diogu was a force inside, but his two 3-pointers in the second half helped bring ASU from a 58-43 deficit at the 11:48 mark to a 64-62 lead with 3:46 remaining.

"ASU played great. We're the team that usually gets on the runs and we did but ASU did a great job of answering those runs with runs of their own," Olson said. "It's certainly a game that could have gone either way."

The Wildcats got out to a 22-4 lead with 13:50 to go in the first half.

ASU went on a 15-3 run over the next six minutes and eventually cut the lead to one, 37-36, at the half.

With Stanford upsetting No. 10 Washington Saturday, the Wildcats clinched their ninth Pac-10 title outright and their 11th overall.

Olson set the Pac-10 conference record for wins by surpassing Wooden, a close friend of his.

Olson said passing Wooden in the record books is bittersweet, due to their friendship.

"I've said all along there should be an asterisk by his name and there shouldn't be anyone that ever passes him," Olson said. "What he accomplished no one else will again."

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