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Men's Hoops: Cats knocked off Pac-10 pedestal

KEVIN B. KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA senior center Channing Frye pulls up over Washington State's Chris Schlatter for a quick jump shot. Washington State upset Arizona, 70-63 for the Cougars first win over Arizona in 19 seasons.
By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, January 31, 2005
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In McKale, Cougs snap 38-game losing streak to Wildcats

It was a short stay at the top of the Pacific 10 Conference standings, as Washington State defeated the No. 11 Arizona men's basketball team 70-63 in McKale Center Saturday afternoon.

The Cougars (9-9, 4-5) have now defeated two of the top three teams in the Pac-10 - Stanford and Arizona. They defeated Stanford in Pullman, Wash., Dec. 31, 60-51.

"I just think people didn't take this game seriously. I think Washington State wanted to win more than we did," said UA senior center Channing Frye.

"To lose, especially at home, and especially after beating a team like Washington; just based on the records - not to say anything against Washington State - yeah, it's embarrassing," he said.

After a 91-82 win against No. 10 Washington Thursday night that gave the Wildcats (17-4, 7-2) sole possession of first place, UA head coach Lute Olson was worried about his players moving on from that victory and preparing for a WSU team that has not beaten Arizona since a 65-63 overtime game in Pullman, Wash., Jan. 30, 1986 - a span of 38 games.

"The biggest concern we had coming into this game was guys forgetting about Thursday night and recognizing that they had a game on their hands," he said.

"Our most experienced players should be smart enough to understand that every game people are going to come with a fire in their eyes."

Two of Olson's most experienced players, senior guard Salim Stoudamire and Frye both suffered poor shooting days. Frye scored 11 points, but seven of those were free throws. He had two points in the paint and two rebounds.

Stoudamire, whose hot shooting has been crucial to the Wildcats' rattling off five straight conference wins, went 0-of-5 from 3-point range. Stoudamire shot 4-of-14 (28 percent) from the floor, scoring 11 points.

The second half had six ties and eight lead changes, with the Wildcats stretching their lead to 51-45 with just under 9:30 remaining, the team's biggest lead of the game.

"I thought we were going to pull away right there," said sophomore point guard Mustafa Shakur, who led all Wildcat scorers with 12 points. "Then we missed a shot or something like that, or a foul or something like that, and they came back down and hit some big shots."

The Cougars stayed close mostly due to shooting 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from 3-point range in the second half, and 57.1 percent (12-of-21) for the game. Guard Thomas Kelati scored six of the Cougars' seven 3-pointers in the second half. Kelati hit a 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining in the game to go ahead for good at 66-63.

Sophomore forward Ivan Radenovic was a bright spot for the Wildcats, notching his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. He also swiped three steals in the game.

Another issue for Olson that stemmed from the Washington game was the benching of junior guard Chris Rodgers for Saturday's game due to disciplinary reasons. Olson did not allow Rodgers to practice on Friday due to his actions. Rodgers is considered UA's sixth man and one of the team's best defensive players.

"It would have been nice to have him play today, but he earned his seat on the bench, just like Salim (Stoudamire) earned his seat on the bench at Marquette," Olson said. "And if somebody else earns his seat on the bench, I don't care about whether we win or lose."

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