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20070105 Cats Outshoot Huskies, 96-87
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/05/2007
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<P>SEATTLE (AP) -Sure, UCLA is undefeated and No. 1 in nation.</P> <P>But while the rest of the Pac-10 and country is trying to measure up to the Bruins, surging Arizona is beginning to think it is the standard against which UCLA should be comparing itself.</P> <P>Freshman <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=542241"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=542241">Chase Budinger</A></A> scored 23 points and <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=186162"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=186162">Marcus Williams</A></A> and Jawaan McClellan both had 22 to lead No. 7 Arizona to its 12th consecutive victory, a 96-87 race past No. 24 Washington on Thursday night.</P> <P>McClellan tied a career high and <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=39542"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=39542">Mustafa Shakur</A></A> added 21 points for Arizona (12-1, 3-0 Pac-10), which hasn't lost since a 93-90 defeat in its opener at Virginia. Since then, no team has gotten closer than Louisville's seven-point defeat Dec. 5.</P> <P>``We're the standard. I don't think they are the standard,'' Williams said of the Bruins.</P> <P>He said he meant no disrespect to last season's national runners-up. It's just that he's as impressed as everyone else is with his team's ability to score from every position.</P> <P>Arizona shot 76 percent in the second half and 65 percent from the game. That how the Wildcats extended their longest winning streak since they won 19 in a row in 1998 before losing in the NCAA regional finals to Utah.</P> <P>``That's our team right there. Our whole team can shoot,'' Budinger said.</P> <P>And Arizona's shots weren't gimmes. The Wildcats went 11-of-20 from 3-point range against Washington's uncharacteristic zone defense. McClellan was 6-for-9 from deep and his consecutive 3-pointers put Arizona ahead for good with 3:37 left.</P> <P>``It's unbelievable. Every time we packed it in (on defense), they let it fly,'' Washington center Spencer Hawes said of Arizona's relentless shooting.</P> <P>``We'd go to box out for a rebound - and there was no reason to,'' said Hawes, who scored 16 points in 29 minutes while playing with a flu that had him with an IV in his arm for the first time in his life at halftime.</P> <P>``But we still have to figure out a way to stop people,'' Arizona coach <A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=39523"><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=39523">Lute Olson</A></A> said, trying to keep his high-flying 'Cats grounded entering Saturday's game at resurgent Washington State (13-2, 2-1).</P> <P>Quincy Pondexter, benched for the first time in his collegiate career after 13 starts, matched his career high with 25 points for Washington (10-4, 0-3), which lost its third straight. He had scored 22 points in his three previous games combined.</P> <P>Pondexter had 21 points in 16 minutes of an NBA-paced first half that ended with Washington leading 51-48. He was also awed by Arizona.</P> <P>``USC's a tough team, UCLA's a tough team,'' Pondexter said. ``Arizona? They're really tough. They're one of the top teams in the country.''</P> <P>Williams, a Seattle native playing in front of 14 friends and family members, was 10-for-14 despite a constantly sore left wrist which he had an ice bag on after the game.</P> <P>McClellan's fourth 3-pointer of the game gave Arizona a 70-69 lead with 11:38 left. After Ryan Appleby briefly gave Washington the lead back at 77-76 with a runner and pulled the Huskies within 87-86 with a fadeaway at the shot clock buzzer, McClellan responded with another 3. Arizona led 90-86 with 3:37 remaining.</P> <P>Washington went the final 4:25 without a field goal and lost for the first time in eight home games against a ranked opponent.</P> <P>The Huskies tried two new starters following a 22-point loss at UCLA on Sunday - freshman Phil Nelson and Appleby, a junior. Pondexter and point guard Justin Dentmon went to the bench.</P> <P>It worked for the first 32 minutes, anyway.</P> <P>Washington burned through a 22-4 run over 6 1/2 minutes of the first half to go up 45-31. Pondexter, who entered the game 3 1/2 minutes in, had 10 of those points. Four were spectacular: a spin between two defenders before a finger roll layup and a behind-the-back dribble in traffic and windmill lay in. Those had the roaring, sold-out crowd shaking 80-year-old Hec Edmundson Pavilion in anticipation of a reviving upset.</P> <P>But much of that surge came with Shakur and Williams on the Arizona bench. When they returned, the Wildcats immediately answered with a 15-0 run to retake the lead. McClellan, who entered the game averaging 10 points in six starts, had 11 in the first half.</P> <P>Olson did not substitute for the first 15 minutes of the second half, while his starters pushed back into the lead for good.</P> <P>``I was amazed that the minutes that their players played,'' Brockman said. ``They're in great shape.''</P> <P></BLOCK></P>
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