By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Every one of senior guard Hassan Adams’ career-high 32 points was needed Saturday when the Wildcats slid by No. 7 Washington 96-95 in double overtime.
With an intensity rivaling matches played in March, the Wildcats (9-3, 2-0) snapped the Huskies (11-1, 1-1) 32-game home winning streak, the longest in the nation, after junior center Kirk Walters made one of two free throws with 5.1 seconds left to play.
“He wanted it when he got fouled,” assistant coach Josh Pastner said. “The expression he had on his face, he was pumped and he was intense. I knew he was going to make one of the two.”
The Cats rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit and had to overcome Husky senior guard Brandon Roy’s late heroics — Roy knocked down two 3-pointers with seconds remaining to extend the game into both overtimes, jolting the sold-out crowd of 10,000 at Bank of America Arena.
The first half marked yet another abysmal shooting start for the Cats, who scratched a meager 28 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, including a 1-15 mark from beyond the arc.
In the locker room at halftime, the coaching staff had little to say to the team.
“We asked all the guys to look down at their chests and see what jersey they had on and not too much more than that,” associate head coach Jim Rosborough said. “There weren’t any major adjustments. We kind of challenged them to step up and make shots and to look at the jersey they were wearing.”
Adams and Roy had a duel worthy of Pac-10 lore. Adams shot 13-24 from the field, including 5-7 from 3-point range and had eight points in overtime. In the first overtime, with Arizona down 85-82, Adams made consecutive 3-pointers to give Arizona a three point lead. The second of the threes was from well beyond NBA 3-point range.
Roy tied his career high, scoring 35 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Perhaps greater than the numbers were Roy’s two clutch 3-pointers that sent the Huskies into overtime and double overtime.
With time running down in regulation, Roy knocked in a 3-pointer from straightaway over senior guard Chris Rodgers. In overtime, Roy stepped through two Arizona defenders on the left wing and threw in another 3-pointer, tying the score at 90.
Roy fouled out with 54 second left in the second overtime.
“It was a battle between Brandon and Hassan, two great, great players, two of the better players in the country,” Pastner said. “Brandon Roy is a tremendous player — he’s going to be a great NBA guy.”
While some coaching staffs might have fouled Roy in the final seconds of the game, Rosborough said they wanted the senior to make the play.
“If you check around with all the coaches in the country, a lot of them will talk about it, but no one ever does it,” Rosborough said. “I understand that’s one of the things you debate about and we did discuss it.”
Cats freshman Marcus Williams came up big with 16 points and 9 rebounds after head Coach Lute Olson started the Seattle native, opting for a smaller line-up.
The road trip was a crash course in Pac-10 play for Williams, who has steadily seen increased playing time, Pastner said.
“The last few games, he’s been playing at a whole new level,” Pastner said.
Throughout the game, the coaches stressed confidence, hoping that shots will eventually fall, Pastner said. In the second half, they finally did.
Arizona outscored Washington 19-9 over a 4:06 stretch early in the second half, cutting the lead to three. All five Wildcat starters scored during the run.
“We were down 40-27 and we came out in that second half and really jumped on them, had a big run and didn’t cave in,” Pastner said.
Junior point guard Mustafa Shakur, who went 0-5 from 3-point range in the first half, took only seven seconds off the clock before hitting a 3-pointer in the second half.
Shakur would score 23 points and dish out nine assists to help Adams and Williams with the scoring load.
“I think that was the game of his career,” Rosborough said of Shakur. “I thought he was tough. He ran our club. He didn’t turn the ball over. I thought he did a really good job for us.”
Adams followed Shakur by hitting a jump shot and a 3-pointer to make the score 43-35. Chris Rodgers, who shot 2-8 from the field, connected on his first 3-pointer during the run as well.
The Wildcats forced 19 turnovers despite not using their usual full court pressure. Arizona instead relied on a 1-3-1 match-up zone that proved effective last season against Washington, along with their half court man-to-man defense.
“It was a huge win,” Pastner said. “We needed that. To sweep the Washington State/ Washington road trip was humongous for us.”
More than the shots finally falling, Pastner said the team won because of its determination.
“We talked about it at halftime — that we were not playing tough, and second half we came out with a lot of toughness and that was the reason we won,” Pastner said.
Arizona has now won seven consecutive games, but the schedule doesn’t get easier, as No.11 UCLA comes to McKale Center Thursday.
Notes: Shakur was hit in the mouth at some point in the second half and received seven stitches.
Arizona will not play Duke next season, but will instead play a “high powered Big Ten team” according to Rosborough. “I don’t think Duke is involved anymore,” Rosborough said.