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Cats comeback falls short in overtime

By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 24, 2005

The No. 9 Arizona basketball team clawed its way back from a 17-point second-half deficit yesterday, only to lose 74-71 in overtime in the third-place game against No. 12 Michigan State at the EA Sports Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Freshman forward Marcus Williams missed two free throws with 8.5 seconds left and the Wildcats down 70-68.

Michigan State forward Paul Davis was subsequently fouled after rebounding Williams’ second miss and knocked down two free throws to make it a two-possession game.

“Marcus played a great game, even with those two free throws,” said Arizona assistant coach Josh Pastner. “That wasn’t the big deal, because other guys missed free throws as well.”

Senior guard Chris Rodgers made a 3-pointer with one second left, but quickly called a timeout, one Arizona did not have.

Maurice Ager, who led Michigan State (2-2) with 20 points, made the technical free throws, and the Spartans threw the ball in-bounds to drain the remaining time from the clock.

Senior guard Hassan Adams led Arizona (1-2) with 21 points and nine rebounds, along with his four assists and six steals.

Rodgers added 20 for the Wildcats on 6-of-16 shooting from the field, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range.

With the score tied at 68, Michigan State guard Shannon Brown, who had 19 points, pump-faked, took a dribble to his left and hit the go-ahead jump shot.

Arizona had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Adams’ fall-away jumper from the left box about 12 feet from the basket clanged off the rim.

“We wanted to get the ball to Hassan. He was the hot man, and we wanted to get the ball in his hands,” Pastner said. “It didn’t go in for him.”

Arizona trailed 37-23 at halftime and once again shot poorly, hitting only 39.4 percent of its shots. At the free throw line, the Wildcats were just as bad, converting 13-of-22 attempts (59 percent), including 2-of-5 in overtime.

“We got to get better shots,” Pastner said. “It can’t be one pass, shot. We need to move the ball, we need to penetrate more through the lane. We can’t settle for jump shots.”

Michigan State scored the last seven points of the first half, capped off by a Goran Suton layup, as Arizona didn’t score for nearly four minutes around halftime and into the second half.

Davis went 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in overtime and 10-of-10 overall, finishing with 18 points.

Michigan State had its biggest lead at 43-26 with 14:50 left to play in the second half. Arizona then went on an 8-2 run, as sophomore forward Bret Brielmaier layed in a bucket and Chris Rodgers made two 3-pointers. Rodgers had 17 of his 20 points after halftime.

“It was a great comeback, with a lot of heart and fight by our guys,” Pastner said. “That’s something that we need to learn, to play with that type of urgency from the beginning.”

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