Wildcats claw past Cardinal

By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, January 20, 2006

Men demolish Stanford with overtime burst to avoid three-game skid

Stanford almost added insult to injury, but the Arizona men's basketball escaped McKale Center with a 90-81 victory in overtime.

On a day when the Wildcats were without two of their best perimeter players - with sophomore guard Jawann McClellan finished for the season with a torn ligament in his left wrist and Chris Rodgers kicked off the team for disciplinary reasons - Arizona played one of their best games of the season.

"We just really shared the ball and played Arizona basketball out there," said freshman forward Marcus Williams, who led the team with 22 points. "We got out and put points on the board."

Arizona was leading 80-79 when junior point guard Mustafa Shakur spun inside the key, shielded the ball with his body and put in a right-handed layup, drawing a foul in the process and making the free throw to put the Wildcats up 83-79.

"I drove left and Hernandez tried to cut me off," Shakur said. "I spun back and saw the big guy waiting, so I said I'm going to get my body into him and get the obvious foul and try to finish it, and it went in.

"I knew after that the game was over," Shakur said. "I knew we had the momentum, the game was over."

Arizona wouldn't look back as Shakur, who had his first career double-double scoring 13 points to go with 12 assists added four more free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

"We really came together and played as a team," Shakur said. "Everybody had energy from one on down to 13. Sometimes it takes adversity for you to get in the right frame of mind."

Nearing the end of regulation, and Arizona down 73-71, Marcus Williams drove right and made a layup to tie the score with 35.6 seconds left.

"I didn't really feel like [Dan Grunfeld] could really hang with me on the perimeter so I just went to the basket hard and just kissed it off the glass," said Williams, who had a career-high with 22 points. Stanford held for the last shot, and senior center Matt Haryasz would have the ball at the end of the game. Haryasz pump-faked, drove right and was tied up in the key as time expired.

With the self-proclaimed best shooter on the team no longer shooting, Arizona came out shooting red-hot in the first half hitting 7-of-11 3-point shots. Junior forward Ivan Radenovic, Williams, and senior guard Hassan Adams went 7-of-7 collectively on 3-pointers. Shakur, meanwhile had eight assists before halftime.

After an early 8-3 deficit, the Wildcats went on a 13-0 run building an eight point lead. Adams and Radenovic combined for 14 of Arizona's first 16 points.

Stanford fought back cutting the lead to 16-15 on a Dan Grunfeld 3-pointer but Arizona would go on another spurt, scoring nine consecutive points with Marcus Williams capping the run by knocking down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions.

Arizona led 54-43 with 15:07 left in the second half when Stanford went on a 16-6 run. Mitch Johnson and Hernandez made 3-pointers with a Haryasz lay-up in between as Stanford cut the lead to 60-59. Lawrence Hill made shot from the elbow with 9:31 left to give Stanford their first lead since 8-7. Prince followed on the next possession by driving and missing a left-handed dunk, after which he committed a foul in the backcourt.

Sophomore guard Jawann McClellan will miss the rest of the season after undergoing successful surgery yesterday to repair a torn ligament in his left (non-shooting) wrist. McClellan suffered the injury driving to the basket at Oregon when he jumped over Ducks guard Aaron Brooks. He averaged four points in two games after missing the first semester due to academic ineligibility.

McClellan may apply for a medical redshirt this season and said he would be ready for Arizona's trip to Europe next summer.

"I tried to play on it and I tried to jump over Aaron Brooks and I knew I felt something pop, but I tried to tape it up and go back in there and I just couldn't go no more," McClellan said.

Freshman Fendi Onobun played for the first time against Stanford after redshirting the beginning of the season. He played 13 minutes and scored six points.

"I found out yesterday before practice and he told me I really improved on my game," Onobun said. "I was astonished; it hit me like a blindside screen, but I was like, 'it's cool, let's do it, let's get my father on the phone.' He was happy with the decision, I was happy with the decision."

Arizona head coach Lute Olson said Rodgers may still be back this season after a few weeks.

"The door is open a crack and the ball is in Chris' court. There is certain things that he is going to have to do and if he does them he has a chance to come back," Olson said.

Arizona will play California tomorrow.

Cal is coming off of a 30-point win against Arizona State and is led by forward Leon Powe. "They have a solid team especially getting Leon Powe back who's a great force down low and I think you saw that his freshman year, how effective he was and how much they missed him last year," Shakur said.