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Cats cruise to Pac-10 championship game


Photo
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona's Channing Frye goes up for a block against OSU's David Lucas during the first half of Arizona's second round Pac-10 tournament matchup against Oregon State, Friday March 11, 2005 in Staples Center in Los Angeles.
By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Saturday, March 12, 2005

LOS ANGELES - The No. 1 seed Arizona Wildcats out-scored No. 5 seed Oregon State 50-24 in the second half to win the game 90-59 and easily move on to the finals of the Pacific 10 Conference Tournament.

The 31-point victory is a new Pac-10 Tournament record for win-margin.

The Wildcats (27-5 overall, 15-3 Pacific 10 Conference) opened the second half on a 12-0 run. They didn't allow the Beavers (17-14, 8-10) to score until OSU forward Sasa Cuic scored two free-throws four minutes into the second half.

"We've been playing extremely well on the defensive end, and that's the key," senior guard Salim Stoudamire said. "Our defense triggers our offense, and we get out running, we're a team to be reckoned with."

Sophomore point guard Mustafa Shakur drove down the lane and scored a bucket and made the foul shot to go up 72-52 with 8:33 remaining, good for Arizona's largest lead of the game at the time. He finished the game with 10 points and 4 rebounds.

In the first half, OSU stayed within striking distance, going into halftime behind 40-35 off of 8 points apiece from center Kyle Jeffers and Cuic. Forward David Lucas's layup with 1:52 remaining in the half brought the Beavers within five.

Jeffers 17-foot shot to open the game gave OSU their only lead of the game at 2-0. Over the next seven minutes of the half, the Wildcats went on a 22-10 run on the backs of senior center Channing Frye and senior guard Salim Stoudamire, who scored 7 and 8 apiece in that stretch, respectively. Frye and Stoudamire finished the day with 17 points each, and Frye also had 7 rebounds. In the tournament, Frye has shot 17-19 from the floor for 39 points.

Arizona scored 26 points off of 18 OSU turnovers, but did not allow the Beavers to score a single point off of a UA turnover in the second half.

"I thought we made it very hard for them to run what they (OSU) had success with in the first half," Olson said.

For the second game in a row, Olson gave his bench some serious playing time. Freshman guard Jawann McClellan led the reserves by going 6-7 from the floor for 15 points and 5 rebounds in 25 minutes of play. McClellan also went 2-3 from 3-point range.

"Without a doubt right now, he's our best offensive rebounder with the number of minutes he's been in there. And the reason is, he goes for everything," Olson said of McClellan.

Overall, the Wildcats got a combined 62 minutes off the bench, which scored 24 points and 13 rebounds.

Stoudamire briefly left the game with just under 9 minutes to go in the second half when he hurt his calf in a scrum on the floor for the ball. He said it wasn't hurt and he would be fine to play tomorrow.

The Wildcats face the winner of the Washington/Stanford semifinal today at 4:10 p.m. for the championship game. The game will be televised on CBS.



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