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Washington dogs Arizona for Pac-10 championship

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Head coach Lute Olson covers his face after Salim Stoudamire was tripped during the final minutes of the second half of Arizona's championship Pac-10 tournament game against Washington, Saturday, March 12, 2005 in Staples Center in Los Angeles. Washington defeated Arizona 81-72, taking the Pac-10 Tournament Championship.
By Amanda Branam
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sunday, March 13, 2005

LOS ANGELES - Even Salim Stoudamire tying his career-high in points couldn't get the Wildcats a Pacific 10 Conference Tournament championship.

The top-seeded Wildcats (27-6 overall, 15-3 Pacific 10 Conference) fell 81-72 to No. 2 seed Washington (27-5, 14-4) in the tournament title game Saturday, the first time the Wildcats have lost in the championship game of the Pac-10 tourney.

Stoudamire scored 37 points, tying his career-best that he originally set on Feb. 19, 2004 in a victory at Oregon. The 6-foot-1 senior shot 12 of 20 from the floor, going 7 of 13 beyond the arc. His second 3-pointer with 9:16 left in the first half made him the top 3-point shooter in Pac-10 history. The previous record was 323, set by Steve Smith, and Stoudamire ended the game with 329 for his four-year career.

"There's no question that the team that played the hardest won," Arizona head coach Lute Olson said.

Husky guard Will Conroy made a 3-pointer with 2:15 remaining to take the lead for good at 73-72.

The Huskies tied the game at 70 on a pair of free throws by forward Bobby Jones with 3:34 to go in the game. Arizona senior center Channing Frye made a bank shot to put Arizona up 72-70, with 2:54 left, the last time the Wildcats would lead in the game.

Frye made the All-Tournament team, and Stoudamire was named the tournament's most outstanding player, the first time a player for the runner-up team has won the award.

Usually the Wildcats come out roaring in the second half, but it was Washington who went out on a run to get back into the game. The Huskies went out on a 17-8 run to open the half.

"I don't think we rebounded well, and they beat us with second-chance points," Stoudamire said.

For the game, the Huskies out-rebounded the Wildcats 41-26.

In the first half, Stoudamire missed his first attempt, and then hit his first 3-pointer two minutes into the game to give the Wildcats their first points of the game. He missed two subsequent shots, but after that could not miss the basket even if he tried.

The Huskies were never too far behind the Wildcats in the first half coming as close as 22-21 on a Hakeem Rollins dunk with 4:29 remaining, and came within one again after Nate Robinson hit both his free throws a little over a minute later to make it 24-23.

Stoudamire hit a 3-pointer with 3:17 remaining, and it was all Stoudamire until the end of the half.

He scored the Wildcats' final 17 points in the half, going 6 of 6 from the floor, 2 of 2 from 3-point range, and 4 of 4 from the line over the last 3:17. Stoudamire single-handedly extending the Arizona lead from 24-23 to 41-33 at the half.

"I think we need to look at the problems that we had today and learn from them, and make this a character-building situation," Frye said. "We need to come out Monday with a chip on our shoulder."

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