Wildchairs edge Arizona 66-65

By Monty Phan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

When the Arizona men's basketball team took on the Arizona wheelchair basketball team last night at McKale Center, UA head coach Lute Olson was not among the team members present.

For this, he was probably grateful.

After numerous spills, pranks and blatant episodes of cheating, the on-court chaos that occurred during last night's game was a far cry from the control Olson's teams usually exhibit on the court. But then again, this was no usual game.

Though the final score read 66-65 in favor of the Wildchairs, it wasn't as close as the scoreboard indicated literally. Both Joe McLean and Joseph Blair made trips to the scorers' table to intimidate the UA's two team managers who were acting as scorekeepers into adding points to the Wildcats' total. You could call it reverse point-shaving.

"Total craziness. Never in my history of the game have I seen total crazy behavior on the court," said Wildchair coach Dave Herr-Cardillo. "It seems each year the Wildcats just get bolder and bolder."

UA assistant coach Jessie Evans held the reins on the Wildcats' side of the court, with honorary coach Mike Candrea, Arizona's softball coach, at his side. It's no wonder Evans bolted off the court after the game he was probably in search of some antacids.

At one point in the first half, McLean missed a layup and collided chairs with a Wildchair player, causing McLean to fly out of his chair. He was uninjured. Amazingly, no foul was called on the play.

"I've got to admit, each year they're improving," said Wildchair Auggie Mendoza. "Their three-pointers are really getting better. I think overall we had fun. I feel the crowd got into it too."

Even the referees got into it. In the second half, one of the officials pushed Blair the length of the court right between two waiting Wildchairs. In a perfect example of Newton's first law, the chair stopped, but Blair kept on going, right into a crowd of cheerleaders.

And speaking of the cheerleaders, they weren't about to be left out either. After one of the Wildcats' five "frustration slam dunks" shots that allowed the Wildcats to get out of their chair and slam it down two cheerleaders were waiting at the other end, one on top of the other's shoulders. The 10-foot duo received an alley-oop and scored two for the Wildchairs.

"That was the first time for me (slam-dunking the ball)," said cheerleader Mila McCabe. "We said after they do their first frustration dunk, we told their coach to tell their guys that we'll be down at the other end. So it was kind of cool, no one was expecting it."

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