The Cats' regulars took the floor until the final nine minutes when coach Lute Olson tried some different lineup combinations.
Samford came out shooting, and largely from behind the arc, setting a
But Samford was able to connect on only 35 percent of the shots and the bigger Wildcats had a resounding 47-21 edge in rebounds. McClellan and Radenovic had rebounding honors with nine, and Williams and Budinger had eight apiece.
Williams, McClellan battle for a board (AP)
Randall Gulina led the Bulldogs with 21 points, hitting 7 of 13 from the floor and five of 10 three-pointers. Jerry Smith had 13, with three of eight from behind the arc.
Arizona’s first half was a series of runs, three modest but the final one defining enough for a 28-point lead.
The Cats took the ball to the hole straight off the opening tip, with Marcus Williams missing both free throws but Chase Budinger hitting the boards for a tip-in on the second. After that, he and Williams scored
Budinger drove for a bank shot from the wing, Williams hit a little leaner off a rebound-break and it was
Samford coach Jimmy Tillette called timeout after Shakur’s spinning jumper in the lane pushed UA’s lead to 18-7 at the 11:46 mark. UA came out and Jawann McClellan had a put-back off UA’s 13th redound in less than a half.
Jerry Smith drained a 20-footer from the top of the arc to stop a second UA 6-0 run and make it 20-10 with 10:30 to go. The Cats put their third little run together to make it 26-10 on two buckets by Williams and two free throws by Shakur.
Budinger netted his 10th point on a drive and bank-shot with five minutes left, then Nic Wise made a three from the wing, McClellan hit a jumper, Budinger hit another, Radenovic another and UA had a 44-16 lead with their biggest run of 16-0. Travis Peterson made a layup with a minute left, but Shakur hit a bucket at the buzzer for UA’s final points of the half.
For awhile it looked as if