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Men's Hoops: Cats crush Cardinal at home

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA senior shooting guard Salim Stoudamire drives to the hoop past Stanford forward Rob Little during the Wildcats' 90-72 victory over the Cardinal Saturday in McKale Center.
By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 7, 2005
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UA stops Stanford's McKale winning streak

Arizona men's basketball coach Lute Olson got his 299th Pacific 10 Conference win Saturday, five short of UCLA legend John Wooden.

Though the numeral of Arizona's 90-72 victory over Stanford wasn't as significant, the outcome was just as meaningful.

"This feels so good," said senior center Channing Frye, who had not beaten Stanford in McKale Center prior to Saturday.

The No. 13 Wildcats (19-4, 9-2) avenged three straight losses to the Cardinal (12-9, 6-5) in front of 14,592 in McKale Center, taking a 33-21 advantage with 5:05 remaining in the first half and never looking back.

The Wildcat seniors led the charge early, as Frye scored six of the first eight points en route to a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Fellow senior Salim Stoudamire had another solid shooting day, scoring 26 points and going 9-of-17 from the field.

"We felt like last time out at Stanford, we didn't establish ourselves early, and we had to get in the game late and force stuff up," Frye said. "I think today we took good shots and passed the ball well as a team. We stuck together."

Arizona shot well for the second game in a row, hitting 54 percent of its shots and 53 percent of its 3-point attempts, while going perfect from the freethrow line (18-18).

"We have good shooters, and good shooters should shoot well at the line if they're focusing and concentrating," said Olson, who wore tennis shoes during the game to promote cancer awareness.

In the first nine minutes of the game, the action went back and forth, but once the Wildcats took an 18-16 lead, they never relinquished it.

Arizona went on a 9-0 run three minutes later to make the score 33-21, and the Wildcats led 42-34 at halftime.

In the second half, Arizona opened it up even more, gradually building the lead to as many as 22.

Stanford, who was led by Dan Grunfeld's 23 points, never made a charge in the second half, as Arizona led by double digits for over 17 minutes.

Grunfeld, along with point guard Chris Hernandez, who shot just 5-of-13 and had 13 points, was relatively quiet, partly due to the emergence of Arizona junior guard Chris Rodgers. Rodgers, who took back his role as the team's sixth man by cutting off Hernandez's penetration, scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. He hit three of five 3-pointers.

"Chris Rodgers had the best game he's ever had here," Olson said. "He took the shots he should take and defensively got all over Grunfeld and Hernandez or whoever he ended up on."

Rodgers was not much of a factor in the last meeting in January at Stanford, scoring only three points while Grunfeld and Hernandez went for a combined 52.

This time around, however, he made a quick impact, giving the team a surge with consecutive 3-pointers early in the game.

"I thought I did a good job of sparking that, starting us off. I came in and everyone felt it," Rodgers said.

Rodgers played his second game after being suspended for the game against Washington State. Olson said Rodgers was once again thinking about the team.

"Obviously the best defensive player on the team wasn't in action that game and it kind of hurt us, but I'm back and I'm glad we bounced back as a team and took care of business early," Rodgers said.

Stoudamire started off the defensive effort by cutting off Hernandez's lanes to the basket and making him settle for outside shots.

"That was a goal of mine, to try to shut him down, but it's kind of impossible because of the talent that he has. But I tried my hardest and I thought I did a pretty good job," Stoudamire said.

Junior forward Hassan Adams pitched in 13 points, while sophomore forward Ivan Radenovic was two rebounds shy of a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Mustafa Shakur, who did not make a field goal, had six assists and five rebounds.

The bench was also a factor, with five points and two rebounds from sophomore center Kirk Walters and another four points from freshman forward Jawann McClellan.

The team effort was crucial to the win, but Frye said he was not going to let the Wildcats lose. His monstrous dunk in the second half, along with four blocked shots, helped prove his stance.

"I think this is one of the best efforts we had not only because we won but how we won and how we did it as a team," Frye said.

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