By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, March 7, 2005
Arizona senior guard Salim Stoudamire might have won the game with his jump shot with 0.6 seconds remaining, but the No. 11 Arizona men's basketball team couldn't have won if not for two scoring runs to begin each half.
The Wildcats almost sent ASU packing early after the first 6:11 of the game, when Arizona went on a 22-4 run using a combination of turnovers and Stoudamire 3-pointers to build a seemingly insurmountable lead.
"We try to go on those runs and I think ASU knew they were coming," said senior center Channing Frye.
Arizona's first points of the game came on a familiar sight, a Stoudamire 3-pointer.
Frye scored the next bucket on a thunderous right-handed jam, his only field goal of the first half.
Sophomore guard Mustafa Shakur, who led the Wildcats' fast break Saturday, had a good shooting night, and it showed in the first-half run, as he hit two jumpers and a layup during that stretch.
"Staf (Shakur) definitely stepped up and got a couple of key baskets and hit a couple of good shots and got the right people open at the right time," Frye said.
Shakur ended up with 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists. He credited the runs for taking some of the energy out of the Sun Devils.
"They were constantly playing catch-up, so it was hard for them to ... get the lead," he said.
The Sun Devils closed the game to 37-36 at halftime. Whenever Arizona put together a string of good plays, ASU had an answer.
"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," said Arizona head coach Lute Olson.
The Wildcats once again burst out of the gates in the second half, scoring 11 straight points in the first 2:35 to put the lead back to double digits.
After getting into foul trouble in the first half and playing only six minutes, junior forward Hassan Adams led the charge, scoring all of his 15 points in the second half and nine of the 11 points in the surge.
"I had two quick (fouls) and Coach Olson kind of conserved me for the second half," Adams said. "I'm a second half player and I thrive off getting my team in it in the second half. The second half wins games."
As the Sun Devils played a 1-2-2 zone for parts of the game, Adams was able to sneak around the baseline and put in layups and tip-ins off of offensive rebounds.
"They needed me," Adams said. "I'm a leader on this team and I have to play like one."
Adams proved his leadership on a play in the second half run when he caught an alley-oop from Shakur and made the ensuing layup while being intentionally fouled by ASU center Ike Diogu.
Adams was down for a few moments because he hit his head on the floor, but he stayed in the game.
"I didn't think he was going to foul me that hard but he did and I kind of banged my head on the ground," Adams said. "You take it as motivation. I know he didn't mean to do it. Me and Ike are cool so it was nothing big, and he apologized."
Frye started the second half with two free throws, and Adams went to work and scored the next nine points to give the Wildcats a 48-36 lead.
"He was great for us in the second half," Shakur said of Adams. "He provided that extra lift we needed to take us over the top."
Arizona has had 15 runs of more than 16 points this season, including the 18-point run to start the game Saturday.
The Wildcats' biggest run of the year came at home versus Oregon, when they outscored the Ducks by 24 points over an 11:33 span.
The Wildcats used a 16-point run in their first meeting of the season with the Sun Devils to push them to a win.
"This group has really had a lot of resiliency," Olson said. "The pressure gets on, and it seems like when we need the big shots, the big shots go."