May 30, 2002
Day 18 (May 30, 2002)
CAIRNS, Australia - The Arizona Wildcats used a solid team effort in posting a 114-96 win over the Cairns Marlins Thursday night at the Bendigo Bank Basketball Complex.
In what was the team's best effort from start to finish on the tour, Arizona methodically dispatched the hosts with strong shooting from its guards and tough inside work from a pair of centers. The Cats connected on 50 percent of their field goal attempts (40-of-80) and held a 54-52 advantage on the glass in improving its Australian Tour record to 7-2.
"We came out and played hard tonight," said UA assistant coach Rodney Tention, who improved to 5-0 on the tour as the head coach. "That was the main difference tonight. We came ready to play and put forth the effort for 48 minutes."
Led by the guard play of Salim Stoudamire and Jason Gardner, Arizona played a consistent, hard-nosed game that simply wore down the opposition. The duo combined to score 55 points on 19-of-36 shooting, including 9-of-18 from three-point range.
Once again, Stoudamire was the catalyst. After leading the team with nine points in the first quarter, Stoudamire scored six straight points in the middle of a 10-2 UA run over 2:22 that gave the Cats the lead for good and finished the half with 17 points.
"I'm really starting to like playing down here," said the Portland, Ore., native. "My shot is starting to come a little easier, but it also helps to have the other guys scoring as well."
The third quarter was more of the same, but this time it was Gardner's turn to take over. He scored 10 of his 25 points in the third quarter, as the Wildcats outscored the Marlins, 26-22, to extend the lead to 86-73 after three periods.
A 12-6 run to open the fourth quarter put the game out of reach. A Jason Ranne layup at 8:17 gave Arizona a 19-point lead (98-79). The lead reached 20 just 33 seconds later on a trey from Gardner.
"For us, it's as simple as playing hard," said Gardner. "When we do that, we're usually tough to beat."
The strong shooting from the guards only helped to open things up for the Wildcat big men. Channing Frye (25 points/16 rebounds) and Isaiah Fox (10 points/6 rebounds) continually found room to operate on the offensive end and take care of the glass on the defensive end.
"I thought this was our best effort from start to finish," said head coach Lute Olson. "It certainly helps when our guards shoot the ball well. That opens up things in the middle. Jason and Salim played really well and that gave a lot of opportunities to Channing and Isaiah."
Arizona's 10-game tour of Australia concludes Saturday, June 1, as the team takes on the Sydney Kings at 7:30 p.m.