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Cats back in business in McKale

EVAN CARAVELLI/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA junior wing Hassan Adams, left, and sophomore point guard Mustafa Shakur celebrate during the Wildcats' first-half barrage against California in McKale Center last night. Arizona jumped out to a 28-7 lead through the game's first 10 minutes en route to a runaway victory.
By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, February 4, 2005
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Arizona bullies Cal for early 28-7 lead, takes back home court in win

Arizona men's basketball head coach Lute Olson had the scores from the 1987-88 squad posted in the players' lockers before they came in to dress for last night's game against California.

He said he wanted them to understand what home court advantage in McKale Center was all about - the 1987-88 team's margin of victory at home was 23.5 points, and the games were usually over within the first 10 minutes of play.

It seems that Olson got his point across, as the Wildcats (18-4, 8-2 Pacific 10 Conference) came close to meeting that margin of victory, beating Cal (11-9, 4-6) 97-76 at home

"We made a very strong effort this time to get our guys to understand that this is our home," Olson said. "We should dominate teams here. It shouldn't get down to the final three minutes."

Ten minutes into the opening half the Wildcats were up 28-7. Seniors Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire individually outscored Cal at that point with eight points apiece. Frye finished with a game-high 20 points, the same total he had when Arizona faced Cal in Berkeley on Jan. 6.

The Wildcats led the game from start to finish, scoring 11 points before Cal made its first field goal.

"We wanted to come out and set the tone," said Stoudamire, who finished the game with 17 points and 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

Stoudamire described his emotions coming into this game, especially coming off the loss to Washington State on Saturday, as "angry, anxious, wanting to shut people up and stop people from talking."

The Golden Bears got to within 12 points three different times in the first half. Cal forward Rod Benson made two layups in the final minute to send the Bears into halftime down 46-33.

"We had to cut that out real quick," Frye said of Cal's late first-half run. "We felt the momentum slipping from us."

The Bears hit the first bucket of the second half to cut the lead to 11, but the Wildcats followed with a 16-4 run to go up 64-39 six minutes into the half. Cal cut the lead to 14 two more times, the last time on a dunk by forward Dominic McGuire with 9:27 to go.

After that, the Wildcats dominated the rest of the game, stretching their lead to as many as 28 points. They shot 63.5 percent (40 of 63) from the floor for the game.

Junior forward Hassan Adams made all seven of his shots from the floor, finishing the night with 15 points, six rebounds and four steals.

Arizona sophomore forward Ivan Radenovic left the game in the second half because of back pain.

Sophomore center Kirk Walters also played little in the half after injuring his ankle during pre-game warm-ups.

The Wildcats face a Stanford team tomorrow that has gotten the better of them of late. Stanford has won three straight against the Wildcats, and Arizona has failed to beat them at home in each of the last two seasons. Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m.

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