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Cats Race Away from Cougars, 87-62
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: December 18, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON--No. 10-ranked Arizona pounded the boards and played some inspired defense to take Houston’s high-scoring offense down a notch in moving to 8-1 on the year with an 87-62 victory in McKale Center Sunday night.


UA point guard Mustafa Shakur led the way for Arizona with 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds, paving the way for a double-digit scoring effort by all five UA starters.


Ivan Radenovic added a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, forwards Marcus Williams and Chase Budinger added 15 apiece and guard Jawann McClellan hit for 10. Williams also doubled, with a game-high 12 rebounds, his second consecutive double-double.


The Cats’ rebounding determined the game, with a season-high 58 boards, doubling the Cougars’ 26 and then some.  


Houston was led by guard Robert McKiver with 13 points, Lanny Smith with 12 and junior transfer Dion Dowell in his first game after sitting out the first semester, also with 12 points.


Houston came into the game averaging 92 points per game. The Cougars tried, taking 41 shots from three-point range, but connected on only 12 of those and 31 percent overall from the floor.


UA led by eight at the half, 41-33, and went on a little 8-3 run to give it some room opening the second half, and then added another spurt to give the Cats some real operating room.


Budinger made UH pay for a full-court press with a dunk off a deep lead pass to give UA a 45-35 lead, then Shakur hit a layup to make it by 12 just three minutes into the second half.


The Cats ran the break off a defensive rebound, with Williams jamming one home for a 14-point lead, before Dion Dowell hit a three to stop the run.


The Cats took it inside for a Budinger layup, then a steal led to a McClellan pass to Shakur, who bounced it off the backboard to lead a throw-down dunk by Marcus Williams for a 57-40 lead at the 14:43 mark.


Nine minutes later, UA inside reserve, Jordan Hill, laid one in for his fourth point and a UA 72-50 lead, and the game was not in question.


The first half was give and take, although Arizona held a lead most of the way, with Radenovic and Shakur leading the way with 10 and eight points to give UA a 41-33 edge. UA hit half its shots and held the Cougars to 35 percent from the floor.


McClellan’s put-back pushed UA to an early 8-6 lead the Cats did not relinquish. Then Radenovic blocked a shot by Lanny Smith in the paint at the other end and drained a three-pointer at the other end, and another one a minute later to make it 14-6 with 15 minutes to go.


Jahmar Thorpe answered with a dunk, and after a Budinger jumper, Smith hit a layup to cut the lead to 16-10. Dion Dowell followed a McClellan turnover with a three to make it 16-13.


Radenovic and Marcus Williams worked a give-and-go at the 13-minute mark to give UA a 20-13 lead, but Houston’s Robert McKiver hit a bucket inside and the teams traded a few more buckets, breaking at the 12-minute media timeout with Arizona leading 22-17.


McKiver scored a pair of buckets over the next several minutes to cut the lead to 24-23 before Williams laid it in to stop a brief UA drought and give UA a slim three-point edge at a 6:46 timeout.


Arizona coach Lute Olson used a variety of lineup combinations to combat Houston’s swarming man-to-man defense, and Daniel Dillon hit a three off a Shakur assist to boost the lead to 29-23. The Cats played tough defense at the other end for another stop, and a pair of offensive rebounds held possession under UA’s basket, with Radenovic ending up at the line for a 1-and-1. He made both to push the lead to eight.


Radenovic followed a UH turnover with another pair of free throws to give UA a 10-point lead, 33-23, at the 3:30 mark.


Oliver Lafayette hit a rainbow three to cut the lead, but Budinger nailed an open three inside the two-minute mark to push the lead back to double digits, 36-26. Shakur hit two free throws to increase it to 12 before Malone drained a three, and Dowell hit a free throw to cut it to eight, 38-30. The shots were Houston’s first from the foul line in the first half. Dowell hit another three to make it a six-point game.


Shakur hit a driving spin move inside the last 20 seconds of the half.


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