By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
For the second consecutive day, the No. 9 Arizona men's basketball team couldn't find its shooting touch, shooting 40.6 percent from the field en route to losing 79-70 to No. 3 Connecticut last night in the second round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.
The Wildcats (1-1) will meet Michigan State at 2:30 p.m. in tomorrow's third-place round.
After Arizona took a 56-52 lead on a Hassan Adams free throw, UConn (3-0) pulled away using a 15-1 run spanning 4:28 to make the score 67-57.
"We had our run and we were even, and all of a sudden we were down for the last three or four minutes," said Arizona associate head coach Jim Rosborough.
Junior forward Ivan Radenovic came off the bench after receiving 17 stitches the night before against Kansas to lead Arizona with 20 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
"He came in and did a great job, shot the ball well, hit some 3's," Rosborough said. "He's not going to get 20 every night, but I thought he really played well."
Five UConn players scored in double figures, led by senior forward Denham Brown, who had 16 points.
The Wildcats shot just 12-of-22 from the free-throw line, including two missed free throws by junior point guard Mustafa Shakur that could have cut Arizona's deficit to six with 2:54 left to play.
"They hit their free throws and we didn't, and that was the key statistic," said Arizona assistant coach Josh Pastner.
On the next possession, senior forward Hilton Armstrong, who had 14 points and seven rebounds and shot 8-of-9 from the free-throw line, was fouled. He knocked down both free throws to give UConn a 67-57 lead.
Arizona started out cold once again, making only two of its first 10 shots and shooting 34 percent in the first half. The Wildcats trailed 41-34 at halftime.
"Early on, we killed ourselves with (the shot selection)," Rosborough said.
Freshman point guard Craig Austrie, taking over starting duties while Marcus Williams and A.J. Price sit out with suspensions, had 15 points for the Huskies and turned the ball over just twice.
Senior guard Hassan Adams scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half. Adams was more assertive, taking the ball to the basket instead of settling for fall-away jumpers.
"The second half, he started going to the rim and wasn't settling for the jump shot," Pastner said. "He's so explosive, and that's what he needs to do."
Arizona's press and 1-3-1 zone defense forced UConn into 14 turnovers and shut down sophomore forward and national player of the year candidate Rudy Gay, holding him to just six points on 2-of-10 shooting.
"I thought the zone was very effective. It really hurt them, slowed them down," Rosborough said. "I thought the zone was one of two or three highlights for us."