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Cats Down Richmond, 84-71, Behind Rodgers' 20 Points
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: December 31, 2004
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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By MEL REISNER AP Sports Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ Chris Rodgers tied his career high with 20 points, and Ivan Radenovic and Salim Stoudamire had 16 each to help No. 14 Arizona outlast stubborn Richmond 84-71 in the championship game of the Fiesta Bowl Classic on Thursday night.

The Wildcats improved to 39-1 in their holiday tournament, where they beat Richmond 95-68 in the first round 10 years ago _ the only previous meeting between the teams.

Eastern Washington beat Butler 67-62 for the consolation title.

Radenovic had nine rebounds _ one short of his career high _ in 24 minutes, leading Arizona (10-2) to a 40-36 edge on the glass. Channing Frye had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Rodgers tied his season high with six rebounds.

Jamaal Scott had 16 points for Richmond (5-5), Courtney Nelson, the hero of the Spiders' win over Butler two nights earlier, had 14 in the second half, and Daon Merritt scored 11.

The Spiders shot a season-high 64 percent against Butler in a one-point victory, but Arizona's athletic defenders proved too much this time, limiting Richmond to 25.9 percent (7-of-27) in the first half and 38.6 percent (22-of-57) for the game.

Arizona shot only 44.3 percent (27-of-61), but made 13 3-pointers, had 14 steals and forced 24 turnovers.

The Wildcats overcame a spate of cold shooting sooner than Richmond, finished the first half with a 16-point lead and made their first six shots in the second.

The Spiders battled back briefly, helped by a five-point play with 17:57 left.

Scott made a layup and was fouled by Radenovic, who also was assessed a technical. Jermaine Bucknor made two technical free throws and Scott's free throw cut Richmond's deficit to 50-35.

But Rodgers made two 3-pointers in the next 2:05, and the Wildcats took a 64-40 lead when Stoudamire made two foul shots after a technical on Merritt.

Their biggest lead was 71-46, on a 3-pointer by Jawann McClellan with 9 minutes to go, and the Spiders never got closer than the final margin.

Both teams missed seven of their first nine shots, and Arizona didn't get the lead until Frye made a layup with 12:58 remaining in the first half. That made it 10-8 early in a 21-3 run _ tied for Arizona's third-best of the year.

Rodgers finished with a 3-pointer, sending the Wildcats to a 27-11 lead with 7:08 to go.

The Spiders answered with a 10-0 run, closing within six points on a free throw by Merritt with 4:57 left before Stoudamire broke the spell with a 3-pointer. In the final 4:05, Radenovic had six points, finishing with 14 at the half, and Arizona moved ahead 42-26 on a three-point play by Frye with 4.7 seconds left.

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