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Men's Hoops: Cats maul Golden Bears

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona's Channing Frye jams home two of his 22 points during the second half of Arizona's first round Pac-10 tournament win over California yesterday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Arizona defeated California 88-63.
By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, March 11, 2005
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Arizona pummels Cal, leads by 30 in 2nd half

Arizona men's basketball head coach Lute Olson mentioned earlier this week that the fourth No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament was there for the taking for his Wildcats.

It all depended, he said, on how a few teams perform in their respective conference tournaments this weekend.

With an 83-66 win over California (13-16, 6-12) yesterday in first-round action of the Pacific 10 Conference Tournament, Arizona made its own case for a top seed at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Wildcats (26-5, 15-3) opened up the second half with a suffocating run, putting the game out of reach with sophomore point guard Mustafa Shakur's 3-pointer six minutes into the half.

Arizona's lead swelled to 60-30, part of an 18-7 run.

"We were ready to play," said Cal guard Richard Midgely. "They were just hitting their shots, and we couldn't get back into the game."

The Wildcats shot 58 percent from the field.

Arizona senior center Channing Frye led all scorers with 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting.

Cal shot 38.8 percent (26-of-67) for the game, getting a team-high 13 points from forward Dominic McGuire.

The Wildcats ended the first half on a 24-11 run over the last 9 1/2 minutes to go into halftime with a 42-23 lead. Shakur hit a 3-pointer as time wound down to end the half.

Frye had his way inside in the first half, scoring 14 points. He went 6-of-6 from the field and created a huge matchup problem, scoring on tip-ins, dunks and midrange jumpers.

"Channing Frye, as you can see, is really playing well," Olson said. "He's a great shooter and he shoots it consistently."

Shakur and junior forward Hassan Adams both chipped in 10 points, and Shakur dished out eight assists.

After the Wildcats jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first three minutes, the Golden Bears came as close as 16-12 with 9:35 remaining in the first half on an 8-footer from forward Marquise Kately.

Cal went scoreless over the next 3:30 of the half and scored only 11 more points in the half.

The Wildcats shot 57 percent from the floor in the first half (16-of-28) and out-rebounded Cal 17-9.

Senior guard Salim Stoudamire finished the game with seven points and four rebounds.

Stoudamire said Midgley, who guarded Stoudamire, did not do anything differently than any other player faced with guarding him.

"Everyone grabs me and holds me, and I didn't want to force anything," Stoudamire said. "My teammates helped me, and we blew them up."

Olson used his bench players early and often yesterday.

Freshman guard-forward Jesus Verdejo made a rare first-half appearance, playing nine minutes.

Verdejo ended with a career-high-tying 15 minutes, notching two points, three assists and two rebounds.

Olson said he chose to use Verdejo off the bench over junior guard Chris Rodgers - the team's usual sixth man this season - because Verdejo had a great week in practice.

"You have to prove that you deserve the time you get," Olson said.

Freshman guard Jawann McClellan came off the bench playing 18 minutes while scoring 14 points.

Sophomore center Kirk Walters added four points in 15 minutes.

Nine Wildcat players put in 15 minutes or more in the game.

The Wildcats face No. 5 seed Oregon State today at 6:15 p.m. in the semifinal round. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.

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