Damon backs up guarantee in win

By Monty Phan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

EUGENE, Ore. As a senior on the Arizona men's basketball team, Portland's Damon Stoudamire was never lost in his home state.

As a senior, Stoudamire has done everything short of coaching the team, as he has no doubt been the Wildcats' most valuable player throughout the season.

So, as a senior, Arizona's do-everything, all-everything point guard decided he would try his hand at something less physical predicting.

Three days after Stoudamire told the Arizona media his team would come out of Oregon with a sweep and a day after telling the Oregon media he didn't mean it that way the Wildcat starter not only talked the talk, but walked the walk, chalking up a game-high 28 points in Arizona's 97-89 victory over Oregon last night.

"I'm not sending any message," Stoudamire said. "That guarantee that I gave, I don't know how to say it it was a guarantee that we were going to win, but I didn't mean it the way it was taken. But since mid

it was taken that way, I guess I can't do anything about it."

Needless to say, the 10,086 fans that packed Oregon's McArthur Court didn't take too kindly to their fellow native's pre-game predictions, booing Stoudamire both in the player introductions and every time he touched the ball. With his family in the crowd, however, the senior was determined to back up his words, as he scored 10 of his team's first 12 points, giving the Wildcats a 12-7 lead with just over 4:30 gone.

But the Ducks came roaring back, as they tied the game at 13 on a Darryl Parker three pointer, then with the score tied at 15, went on a 10-0 run.

After battling back and forth, Oregon managed to increase its lead to 13, courtesy of Orlando Williams' make from behind the arc with just over seven minutes left in the half.

As if on cue, the Wildcats then came back, scoring an unanswered 14 points of their own to go up by one, 36-35, with 4:18 left in the half on a Joseph Blair dunk and a made-free throw. Neither team could wrestle control from the other, however, as each went into the locker room at halftime with 49 points.

"I'm just happy that we won," Stoudamire said. "Our whole team gave a great performance. It wasn't just myself out there on the court, we had a bunch of contributors."

"Everybody did a great job," Blair said. "Joe McLean did a great job, Corey (Williams) did a great job, Ray (Owes), Ben (Davis), myself, I think everybody came in and did a great job on the boards."

Where the first half may have proved Oregon could be a Pac-10 force, the second half showed it hasn't quite reached Arizona's caliber.

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