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OSU Pac-10 Recap 3/12/2008
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/13/2008
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Five Cats finish in double figures

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A dominating first half put Arizona on cruise control the rest of the way against Oregon State.

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Jordan Hill led five players in double figures with 16 points and Arizona swamped the Beavers 87-56 in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament Wednesday night.

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The Wildcats needed at least one more win to extend their 23-year streak of NCAA tournament appearances, the longest in the nation, and they got it easily against the Beavers (6-25).

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The Wildcats (19-13) advanced to play No. 11 Stanford (24-6) in Thursday night's quarterfinals at Staples Center. They were swept by the Cardinal in the regular season.

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"We've been close to beating them twice," Arizona interim coach Kevin O'Neill said. "We're going to have to play great on the defensive end. If you finish second in this league this year, you're damn good."

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Reserve Lathen Wallace scored 19 points and Marcel Jones had 12 rebounds to lead Oregon State, which ended its agonizing season with 21 consecutive losses. The Beavers were the first team to go winless in the Pac-10's regular season since the league expanded in 1978.

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They saw coach Jay John fired in mid-January and center C.J. Giles dismissed from the team the next day, when Kevin Mouton took over as interim coach.

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"I'm sad it's over," said Jones, a senior. "I'm upset the way it ended. Coach Mouton gave it everything he had, he's a player's coach. They've got a great bunch of young guys with energy and passion for the game."

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Hill hit all of his shots, going 7-of-7 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the line while grabbing eight rebounds.

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Nic Wise added 15 points and eight assists, Jerryd Bayless 15 points, Chase Budinger 14 points, and Jawann McClellan 10 for the Wildcats, who had lost seven of their last 10.

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Wise left the game in the second half and watched with his left knee wrapped in ice and propped on the scorer's table. He had knee surgery on Feb. 6 and returned last week.

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"I wanted to get a good lead and get out and ice it before it swells up," he said, adding that he feels pain making certain cuts. "It's going to be a harder game tomorrow. It's going to be much more important."

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The Wildcats went 8-10 in the league's regular season, their worst record since 1983-84, the last time Arizona didn't make the NCAA tournament.

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But it was no contest against the Beavers.

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The beating was slightly less than the 36-point drubbing Arizona administered in Corvallis. The Beavers narrowly avoided breaking the tournament record for largest loss, which was set by Oregon State in a 32- point defeat against UCLA in 2006.

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Arizona set a tournament record for most points in a half, leading 59-21 at the break. That bettered the old mark of 58 UCLA scored against the Wildcats in the 1987 tournament.

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"Doesn't matter who you're playing, that was a great half of basketball," O'Neill said. "Defensively, we were really solid. We played the second half about even."

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They led all the way, racing to leads of 23-4 and 40-12. The Wildcats shot over 70 percent from both the floor and 3-point range while holding Oregon State to 27 percent from the field in first 20 minutes.

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"If they're shooting it like that and they get into the [NCAA] tournament, they're going to cause teams some problems," Mouton said. "They never got cold. You've got to give it to them."

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The Beavers picked up their play in the second half, not that it made a difference on the scoreboard. They trailed by 39 early, then cut their deficit to 77-47 on a tipin by Roeland Schaftenaar with 7:12 remaining.

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O'Neill gave his starters plenty of rest in the second half, with none of them on the floor in the final minutes. All but two of Arizona's players got into the game.

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