By Amanda Branam
SAUL LOEB/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA senior shooting guard Salim Stoudamire drives past a Wright State defender during his 24-point performanice in the Wildcats' 17-point victory last night in the second round of the preseason NIT.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 19, 2004
Cats head to N.Y. next week for NIT semifinals
Salim Stoudamire scored 17 of his 24 points in the first half to lead the Wildcats to an 83-66 win over Wright State in the second round of the Preseason NIT last night in McKale Center.
The Wildcats (2-0) extended their lead to as much as 33 points with 14:22 remaining in the second half, but the Raiders (1-1) cut the lead to 15 by the 7-minute mark.
The Raiders were able to get back in the game on the shooting of Zakee Boyd, who scored 14 points in that stretch, including four consecutive 3-pointers to make the score 65-50.
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But the Raiders never got any closer as the Wildcats held on for the victory, setting up a date with Michigan in the NIT semifinals Wednesday in Madison Square Garden in New York.
"It was obvious that we were a little too big inside and a little too quick defensively for them to handle, but it also helps when Salim shoots the ball the way he shot it," said head coach Lute Olson.
Overall, the Wildcats shot 55.9 percent for the game, and held WSU to 45.5 percent from the floor.
Junior forward Isaiah Fox led all Wildcat scorers in the second half with 10 points, while also pulling down eight rebounds. This was Fox's first game back since serving a three-game suspension - two preseason games and one regular season game - because of disciplinary reasons.
"I didn't feel comfortable when I first got in there," said Fox of his first game of the season. "But the more I played, the more the game kind of came to me."
The Wildcats went into the locker room with a 42-21 lead, mostly on the shooting of Stoudamire. He scored five 3-pointers in under an 8-minute stretch in the first half. His fifth trey of the half with 3:49 remaining extended the Wildcats' lead to 39-17. The Wildcats shot 60.7 percent overall in the first half (17 of 28).
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona sophomore point guard Mustafa Shakur gets back on defense during the Wildcats' 83-66 victory over Wright State last night in McKale Center in the second round of the preseanon NIT. Shakur, who scored eight points and dished out six assists in the win, and the Wildcats face Virginia Sunday before taking on Michigan in the NIT semifinals next week in New York.
Defensively, the UA held WSU to just 21 points in the first half and just 37.5 percent shooting.
Olson also showed the depth of his team this season, playing 11 players for six minutes or more, while seven of those played for 20 minutes or more. The bench combined for 12 points overall.
Along with Stoudamire's impressive shooting spree in the first half, Olson was also impressed with his defensive play against Raider point guard DaShaun Wood.
Wood, one of the Raider's top scorers, was held to just two points in the first half, but ended up with 18 overall.
Olson said he also liked the play of freshman guard Jawann McClellan, who Olson promised would get more playing time after his defensive play against San Diego. McClellan finished the game with seven points and six rebounds.
"He did a nice job of pressuring passes, and pressuring the passer," Olson said. "He's on the offensive boards every time."
The Wildcats will take a break from NIT action this weekend to travel to Charlottesville, Va. to face Virginia at 5 p.m. EST Sunday, with action televised live on FSN. On Wednesday, Arizona will face Michigan in the Preseason NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden. The winner will face either Wake Forest or Providence in the championship game, to be played Nov. 26.