May 24, 2002
Day 11 (May 23, 2002)
TERRIGAL, Australia - Led by Channing Frye's 32 points and 11 rebounds, the Arizona Wildcats posted its best showing to date in Australia in defeating the Sydney Kings, 113-84, Thursday night at the Gossford City Sports Stadium.
For the second night in a row, Frye was virtually unstoppable as he connected on 14-of-17 shots from the floor en route to game-high totals of 32 points and 11 rebounds. The sophomore center, who has poured in 56 points and grabbed 28 boards in the last two games, scored 11 of Arizona's 26 points in the first quarter, including six straight points in a span of 1:45 which broke the game open for good.
"We were just having fun tonight," said Frye. "All of the guys did a great job of moving the ball around. I just tried to finish strong when the ball came to me."
Better outside shooting certainly helped the cause, as did better ball security. The Wildcats connected on 48.4 percent of its shots (44-of-91), including 11 three-point field goals, for the game and finished with 28 assists against just 18 turnovers. Arizona also employed a full-court press to its advantage for much of the first half.
"Our guys played very well tonight," said assistant coach Rodney Tention, who handled the head coaching duties. "They really played hard. We did a great job of getting everyone involved with our ball rotation and the press helped us get the game to the tempo we wanted."
Following Frye's six straight points early in the opening quarter, Arizona closed the quarter with an 11-4 run and an eight-point lead (26-18). UA scored the first five points of the second period to extend the lead to 31-18 after a Salim Stoudamire trey at the 9:51 mark. The lead never fell below double figures after that, and got as high as 30 (85-55) with 11:14 to go in the contest.
Every Arizona player scored at least six points and, perhaps more importantly, seven of the nine players logged at least one assist. Guard Will Bynum credited the team's success against one of Australia's NBL teams to unselfish team play.
"We shared the ball tonight," Bynum said. "We weren't worried about all of the individual stuff, just in getting the win. We were unselfish tonight and that's what the game is all about."
The solid shooting and unselfish play pleased the UA head coach as well. "I'm pleased with the way we played tonight," said Lute Olson. "Anytime you shoot it as well as we did tonight, that's going to make a big difference. Once we started hitting shots from the perimeter, that opened things up for our guys in the middle."
The team returns to action on Friday, May 24, against the Sydney Kings. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Rick Anderson missed Thursday's game with a strained right hamstring, which he suffered in Wednesday night's loss to the Knox Raiders. His status is day-to-day.
The Gossford City Sports Stadium in Terrigal was also the site of Arizona's first game of its 1997 Australian Tour, an 86-85 loss to the Australian Under-22 National Team on May 19. One player on the court tonight for the Sydney Kings, Matt Nielsen, also played in that game. Incidentally, Nielsen went on to win NBL Rookie of the Year honors in 1997, the season immediately following his first appearance against Arizona.
The team hotel in Sydney, the Sir Stamford at Circular Quay, is located about two blocks from Sydney Harbour, and is quite plush. It also rates highest as far as number of television channels...eight. Four networks, four news channels (including the BBC), no ESPN, no Fox Sports, and no music channels. The closest thing to traditional American cable television is the in-room movie service's three previews, which run continuously.
Perhaps that's why Australians are so active. Television couldn't possibly act as a distraction. There is never anything worth watching. The harbour view two blocks down the street beats anything you could watch on television anyway.
Athletic trainer extraordinaire Ed Orr had been using this trip overseas as a chance to experiment with facial hair. Orr's attempt to grow a moustache lasted 11 days. He shaved it off late last night saying, "I looked in the mirror and said to myself, 'Man, you look really stupid.' And shaved it off right then. I just don't have the face for a moustache." Those of us in the travel party were disappointed in Orr's decision. Up to this point we had enjoyed viewing the progress.
There was a fundraising raffle at Thursday's game to benefit one of Gossford City's girl's basketball teams, and with 800 people in attendance, it was sure to do well. Ticket No. 22 was announced as the winner at halftime, and it belonged to...well, me. Yes, I was the winner of a three-day weekend holiday at a beach front condo here in New South Wales. The whole package was valued at $600. How's that for luck? After shortly basking in the glow of victory, I decided to give the prize back to the club so that a local winner could be chosen. Although I couldn't help but think that I could always come back and use the thing next year...