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WSU Recap 2/23/2008
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/23/2008
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PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- You could hear the relief in the voices of Arizona players and interim coach Kevin O'Neill.

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Desperate for a win, Chase Budinger scored 22 points and Jerryd Bayless had all 20 of his points after the half to help Arizona upset Washington State (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) on Saturday night.

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"We really needed to get a win. We played badly over in Seattle the other night and had a heartbreaking loss to Stanford at home," O'Neill said, referring to a 75-66 loss at Washington on Thursday and a 67-66 loss to the Cardinal last week.

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"We were focused. We played great defense and we worked hard," O'Neill said. "We put ourselves in a position to win the game and then made some free throws down the stretch."

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Budinger kept the Wildcats in the game the first half, scoring 12 points, then Bayless started to score to seal the deal in the second.

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"We all dug deep and we were all focused the last two days preparing for this game," Budinger said. "We just played hard on the defensive end."

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Jordan Hill added 13 for the Wildcats (17-10, 7-7 Pac-10), who avoided a third straight loss. The Wildcats are trying to keep alive their streak of 23 straight NCAA tournament appearances.

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Taylor Rochestie scored 14, Derrick Low 12 and Kyle Weaver 10 for the cold-shooting Cougars, who hit just 17-of-50 (34 percent) of their shots.

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Arizona, meanwhile, hit 23-of-46 shots, including 8-of-14 3-pointers to make several runs after the Cougars came close.

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Arizona swept Washington State (21-6, 9-6) in the series. The Wildcats won 76-64 in Tucson on Jan. 24.

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Arizona held a 24-23 lead at the half after Weaver missed a chance to tie with seven-tenths of a second when his second free throw clanked off the rim.

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Bayless opened the second half with a runner for his first points and made two 3s. The Wildcats made an 8-2 run to take a 46-39 lead midway through the period. Washington State got within range, trailing 55-51, when Budinger hit a 3 with 2 minutes remaining and the Cougars never threatened again.

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Bayless said his coach had some words with him at intermission because of bad shots during the first half, when he was 0-for-3.

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"He really stepped up in the second half," Budinger said. "He hit some huge shots for us and hit free throws down the stretch."

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Washington State coach Tony Bennett was impressed by the play of Budinger and Bayless.

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"That was two impressive performances," he said.

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Bennett said his own players seemed flat.

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"If you don't bring your 'A' game in this league against a team like Arizona, you're going to get beat," Bennett said. "They were desperate. They needed that win badly."

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Aaron Baynes, the star of Washington State's 59-47 victory over Arizona State on Thursday, was held to just two points and three rebounds.

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Arizona broke the Cougars' zone defense to score 65 points. Washington State is second nationally in team scoring defense, allowing just 55.2 points.

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The Cougars hit just 7-of-25 shots in the first half, while Arizona improved on 9-of-21 shooting during the period.

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