Tonight's game to settle tie

By Monty Phan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Let the un-log jamming commence.

Last week at this time, the Arizona men's basketball team was tied with Stanford and Arizona State for fourth in the Pacific 10 Conference at 3-2, behind first-place UCLA, Oregon and Washington State.

But the Wildcats know second-place teams. Oregon wasn't a second-place team.

So, after sweeping the Oregon schools, No. 12 Arizona (15-4 overall, 5-2 in the Pac-10) finds itself in a tie again. But this time, Arizona is in second place. And this time, it's with Washington State (10-5, 5-2).

The Wildcats, however, know second-place teams ...

Tip-off for the Cougars-Wildcats game is tonight at 6 at McKale Center. The game will be televised live by KTTU-TV (Channel18).

"As far as Washington State is concerned, the biggest single problem with them is that they shoot the ball so well," UA coach Lute Olson said. "I think that's a credit to what Coach (Kevin) Eastman and his staff have done there.

"They really pass the ball well and as is usually the case, good shooting percentages come about as a result of good shots rather than great shooters," Olson continued. "They really move the ball around well."

If finding the open man is truly one of the Cougars' strengths, then they will be severely weakened this weekend. Eastman said

Donminic Ellison second in the Pac-10 in assists with 7.0 per game won't make the trip because of a case of chicken pox. Ellison's backup, freshman guard Chris Griffin, was diagnosed with bronchitis earlier in the week, but is scheduled to play.

"We only have one other (point guard), period, that's Chris Griffin," Eastman said. "He's the only other guy who can play the point for us. If he can't play, I think I might play the point a little bit. I think I'm the next best point guard in the program, and if you see me play that will tell you that we're not very good right now."

Said Olson: "If Ellison's not able to play, it creates a big problem for them. If you don't have your point guard you're probably going to have a long night."

Junior center Joseph Blair will attempt to get his third straight double-double, as he had a combined 40 points and 27 rebounds in last weekend's victories. His 15 rebounds against Oregon State Saturday were a career high.

"I still don't think I played my best (last weekend), but I don't ever think I played my best," Blair said. "Sometimes that just gets you better, you never know."

Despite the predictions Damon Stoudamire made last week and despite the fact he was able to back it up he's keeping his mouth shut this time around.

"If you look at the comment I made, yeah, I guaranteed a victory, but we were 3-2 in the Pac-10," Stoudamire said. "When I guaranteed a victory, it was must-win. It wasn't like we were 5-0. It was must-win. I didn't mean anything against the Oregon schools or anything like that. It was just we needed these victories."

Said Olson: "I sort of cringed when Damon said that last week but on the other hand, I really think it was helpful. It made the other guys really step up and take a close look at themselves in terms of preparation."

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