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Men's Hoops: Wildcats up and running

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Jesus Verdejo goes for a layup during the first half of Arizona's game against Oregon State at Gill Coliseum Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.
By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
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Stoudamire makes 'a little difference'

As the unranked Washington Huskies knocked off then-No. 17 Arizona in McKale Center last season, senior guard Salim Stoudamire was forced to sit and watch after being benched for disciplinary reasons.

UA head coach Lute Olson jokingly said his senior shooting guard would probably "make a little difference."

Stoudamire has been on a hot shooting streak the last few weeks, stroking the ball at a 60 percent clip from beyond the arc in conference play while earning Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Week Honor last week.

Stoudamire said he felt bad for letting his teammates down last season, but expects to compete at the high level he has been at over the last few weeks.

"I feel like I should (play this way all the time)," he said. "I'm mad at myself when I'm not playing like this the whole year."

Stoudamire has averaged 20.4 points per game to lead the team and has been solid defensively according to Olson.

Those defensive abilities could be put to the test when 5-foot-9 Nate Robinson comes to Tucson scoring 16.7 points per game and averaging more than five assists a contest.

When asked if he was looking forward to the matchup with the junior guard Robinson, Stoudamire said, "No, not really."

Moving on up

Arizona moved up in the polls again after a road sweep of the Oregon schools last week. The Wildcats moved up one spot in the AP poll to No. 11, while their next opponent, the Washington Huskies stayed at the No. 10 spot for the second straight week.

Simmons, not Robinson, is Washington's best player

According to Olson, junior Tre Simmons is the player to watch on the Huskies. "He's the most consistent," Olson said.

Simmons is leading the team at 16.8 points, and at only 6-foot-5, he also leads the team in rebounding at 5.9, while playing six less minutes a game compared to Robinson.

Redemption a factor for some, not others

With both teams positioned at the top of the Pac-10 standing, much of the Wildcat team is mixed on the meaning of Thursday's first-place matchup.

Junior guard Hassan Adams, senior center Channing Frye and sophomore center Kirk Walters all said this game had added importance because of the teams' current standing and past history.

"It's a big game because we're playing for the No. 1 spot," Frye said of the impact the game has on the Pac-10 standings.

"I've been looking forward to it," Adams added. "We take the game like it's your last. You gotta go out there and play hard."

Walters, who played only seven minutes in last year's game said, "It's definitely a bit of redemption."

However, both Olson and Stoudamire felt the game with the Huskies was just another Pac-10 game.

Olson said that although UW beat the Wildcats three times last season, any defeat over his career has stung.

"Any loss we've had in the past 47 years has eaten away at me," he said.

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