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Cats Down Utah, 73-43
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: December 18, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Arizona seems to have recovered nicely from the 2-3 start that had the Wildcats on the verge of falling out of the Top 25.

The 24th-ranked Wildcats have their first three-game winning streak of the season after a 73-43 rout of Utah on Saturday, the Utes' worst home loss since 1943.

``Keep it going. You can't just be complacent with three straight,'' said Hassan Adams, who scored 27 points to lead the Wildcats.

Chris Rodgers scored 13 points and Mustafa Shakur had 12 points, five assists and six rebounds for Arizona, which lost to Connecticut and Michigan State in the EA Sports Maui Invitational and at Houston.

The Wildcats (5-3) shot 48 percent, forced 24 turnovers and blocked seven shots while beating the Utes (5-3) for the second straight season.

Arizona needed to rally to beat Utah a year ago in Tucson. There was no need for a comeback this time, thanks to the defense.

``It seemed like once they got across halfcourt, it was almost a sigh of relief that 'Hey, we're here,''' Arizona coach Lute Olson said of Utah. ``At that point you're here, but you still have something to do.''

That is, score. And Arizona kept Utah from doing it much.

Bryant Markson led Utah with 19 points - nearly half of the Utes' total. Shaun Green was Utah's second-leading scorer with seven points.

``We took them out of a lot of their stuff. They couldn't get the easy ones they were getting,'' Adams said.

Utah struggled against Arizona's pressure all game and the Wildcats pulled away with a 14-3 run midway through the second half and turned the game into a rout.

The Wildcats flustered the Utes and their fans, especially in the second half when debris from the student section landed on the ``U'' at midcourt after Utah's Tim Drisdom was called for an offensive foul with 13:42 left to play.

Utah coach Ray Giacoletti got on the public address system and asked fans not to throw anything on the court. He urged them to cheer on the Utes for a defensive stop. Nothing else was thrown, but Utah didn't get any stops for a while, either.

After Drisdom was called for the foul, Rodgers hit a 3-pointer, then Shakur stole a pass at the Utah free throw line and put in a layup. Rodgers added a short jumper and another 3 during the 14-3 run and Arizona led 52-34.

``We struggled where we couldn't execute offensively, especially against their pressure getting it up the floor,'' Giacoletti said. ``I think right now it's a matter of toughness. That's something you either have inside of you or you don't have inside of you. You've got to be able to find it.''

It never got much better for Utah, even after Olson pulled his starters. Drisdom was called for an intentional foul with 1:06 to play as the few Arizona fans at the Huntsman Center chanted ``U of A'' and ``Ar-i-zo-na!''

The chant was ``Lute! Lute! Lute!'' at the end, when most of the home fans had already left.

Utah fell to 1-4 against ranked teams under Giacoletti and had its worst loss at home since a 68-25 loss to Wyoming on Jan. 16, 1943.

Arizona forced 15 turnovers in the first half and led 28-21 after Adams' 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

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