By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 19, 2004
Stoudamire's 24 points paces Cats in NIT rout
The Arizona men's basketball team's senior leaders did more than just lead in last night's game against Wright State. They dominated, scoring 37 points on 14-of-22 shooting in the Wildcats' 83-66 win in McKale Center.
Senior guard Salim Stoudamire hit 3-pointer after 3-pointer in the first half en route to 24 points, 17 of which came in the opening period.
"My teammates were finding me," Stoudamire said. "I felt good, it was one of those games where it was just a huge bucket."
He spotted up from the left side of the court on a consistent basis and drained contested shots in the face of the Raider defenders. In transition, and in half court sets, against man and against zone, Stoudamire ran to that left wing and punished Wright State for not getting their hands close enough to his face.
"I run the left lane, so it just happens to be that spot," Stoudamire said nonchalantly. "I was just shooting it."
After fellow senior Channing Frye's sub-par performance against San Diego, the big man returned to what the Wildcats expect, collecting 13 points and two blocked shots in just 25 minutes. Frye made 6 of 10 shots from the floor, and took better shots, according to head coach Lute Olson.
"Every time someone was going to the bucket, he did a good job of challenging shots," Olson said.
Frye was the leading scorer for Arizona in the Wildcats' two exhibition games, but has struggled somewhat in the first two preseason National Invitational Tournament games.
"He needs to run the court a little better," Olson said. "But it's not his shot selection that's the problem."
"You won't see him go 3-for-12 very often," Olson said. "The shots he had against San Diego are the shots we want him to take."
While Frye played better, he openly handed over the scoring reins to his classmate. Stoudamire's barrage not only helped the offense score 83 points, but it energized the defense, allowing for more full court pressure after made baskets.
The Wildcats gave up less than 70 points for the second straight game and held Wright State to 37.5 percent from the floor in the first half.
"When Salim got hot, you can feel the momentum shifting," said junior guard Chris Rodgers. "All the guys got really excited and we picked up our defensive intensity."
Stoudamire's defense was superb, keeping Raider star DaShaun Wood in check, holding him to just two first-half points.
"I want to establish everything on the defensive end first of all," Stoudamire said.
Wood gave Stoudamire a cheap shot in the first half, but Stoudamire didn't retaliate, choosing instead to shut him down.
"I just wanted to get into him defensively," Stoudamire said.
"Defensively, he was the best player on the floor tonight," Olson added. "He did an unbelievable job on Wood."
In addition to his shooting, Stoudamire took over the point guard duties when Mustafa Shakur was out of the game. While not his natural position, he played the role well, turning the ball over only once.
"Salim will do a great job at the point," Olson said. "I feel very, very comfortable with him when we're resting Mustafa. Salim will run the show and do a good job."
Stoudamire made 6 of 7 shots (5-6 on three- pointers) in the first half, missing only a 3-point attempt from NBA range. The Wildcats as a team shot 60.7 percent in the first half, and 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. With his first 3-point attempt of the game, Stoudamire overtook third place on UA's career 3-point attempts list from Jason Terry. Stoudamire is also third in 3-point makes, putting him behind his cousin Damon Stoudamire and Jason Gardner. His 3-point shooting percentage is 43.8 percent, second all-time on the UA list, behind Steve Kerr's 57 percent.