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Cats Run Away From Virginia
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/30/2005
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)--Chris Rodgers matched his season high with 20 points, scoring 15 in the second half while No. 9 Arizona ran away from Virginia for an 81-51 victory Sunday night.

Hassan Adams and Mustafa Shakur scored 14 each. Adams, who also had nine rebounds, had 12 points during a 29-1 run that began late in the first half and blew open a tight game.

The Wildcats went into their home opener in a two-game skid, losing to Connecticut and Michigan State in the Maui Invitational after an opening win over Kansas. They also were intent on avenging a 78-60 loss at Virginia last season, their worst offensive effort since scoring 60 in a loss at Michigan State on Dec. 15, 2001.

Sean Singletary had a season-high 24 points and Adrian Joseph had 12, but it wasn't enough to help the Cavaliers (2-1) win their first three for a sixth consecutive year.

J.R. Reynolds, Virginia's top scorer, went 3-for-14 and missed one of two free throws - part of the reason Arizona reversed the outcome on the Cavaliers, who hadn't allowed more than 44 points in a game coming in.

Adams, who was 2-for-10 at halftime, made his first five field-goal attempts in the second half.

The last one opened a 49-29 lead with 14:20 remaining.

Rodgers capped the run - which included a 20-1 start to the second half - with a 15-foot jumper 1:05 later. Joseph broke an 0-for-10 spell by the Cavaliers to start the half with a basket with 12:28 left in the game, and Singletary added a jumper and two free throws to get Virginia within 51-35 with 11:11 left.

But Shakur had nine points in a 5:25 span, opening a 71-41 lead with a 3-pointer with 4:17 left, and both coaches sent in the reserves.

Arizona's bench contributed early after the Wildcats went 1-for-12 midway through the first half. J.P. Prince opened a 20-13 lead - the biggest of the first half - when he stole a pass and laid it in with 9:01 left in the first.

The Cavaliers responded with a 15-2 run capped by 10 straight points by Singletary, who made a jumper in the lane to tie it at 20 with 5:32 to go and followed with a driving layup and two 3-pointers. The second sent Virginia to a 28-22 lead with 3:10 remaining.

But the Cavaliers had two turnovers in the next 56 seconds, and Arizona finished with a 9-0 surge to take a 31-28 halftime lead.

Post-Game Quotes

 

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson:

 

“When you look at the totals from the game, we did pretty well in most areas.

In the first half, we didn’t have great shot selection and we were taking way

too many three-point shots. We did a much better job of controlling those things

in the second half.”

 

“We did well defending their guards. We kept (Sam) Reynolds to minimum points

and the entire team to minimum field goals.”

 

“It hurt to not have Mustafa (Shakur) playing for most of the first half but

once he got those two fouls right in the beginning it didn’t look like things

were going to slow down for him. But he did a very good job bringing the team

together and his numbers looked pretty good as well. We are trying to keep him

to a 3-1 assist-turnover ratio, and tonight he did almost exactly that.”

 

“Ivan (Radenovic) was out tonight with some sort of 24-hour bug. His health is

the first priority but he should be back and ready to go tomorrow.”

 

“The defense did a good job creating offense. We forced them to turnover the

ball and we did a great job of converting those mistakes into points. (Sean)

Singletary is one of their best players, but tonight he had no assists and a

lot of turnovers, so we must have been doing something right.”

 

Arizona Guard Mustafa Shakur

 

“Penetration was the key for us getting into our offensive rhythm. In the second half we were able to do that. Hassan (Adams), Chris (Rodgers) and myself were able to get penetration.”

 

“I talked to our big men before the game a little about it [the absence of junior forward Ivan Radenovic]. I told them they had to step up. When you get opportunities like that you’ve got to be ready and they were. We certainly missed Ivan, but guys stepped up.”

 

“That was a game-changing play [a second half defensive stop that led to a fast break ally-oop dunk by Adams from Shakur]. That got the crowd into it and got our intensity high.”

 

“We [Virginia sophomore guard and Philadelphia native Sean Singletary] played AAU together and against each other growing up. We were on the same team when we were younger, maybe 12 or 13 years old. When we were older we played against each other a lot. We hugged after the game, but it’s almost like we hate each other. He played on a cross-town team and we always had a rivalry that went back and forth with the fans saying Sean was better than me. I wonder what those people will be saying after this game [laughs].”

 

Arizona Guard Chris Rodgers

 

“It was all about our intensity level [in the second half]. We tend to come out sluggish in games. I wanted to set the tone and get the crowd into it. We are definitely a second half team. We have to learn to become a first and second half team.”

 

“It [defense creating offense] has a lot to do with our pressure. It is kind of like a domino effect when we create one turnover. The other teams tenses up and we keep playing harder.”

 

“I just started to get hot in the second half. I got good shots in the first half, but they just didn’t fall.”

 

Arizona Forward Hassan Adams

 

“Intensity. That’s all it is. We made some changes at halftime. We still played good defense in the first half, but our shots just weren’t falling.”

 

“Shot selection is key for us. We’re getting better every day in practice and games. We just have to keep improving.”

 

“I was getting in the lanes and getting steals. It was all about reading the other team.”

 

Arizona Center Isaiah Fox

 

“Coach really got on us at halftime. We seniors talked a lot about last year. As the saying goes: ?'payback is a ...’. That’s what our focus was.”

 

“Coach expected me to come out with a really strong effort. I think I gave a strong effort. I could have finished with no points and it wouldn’t have mattered. I just focused on my effort.”

 

 

Virginia Head Coach Dave Leitao Quotes

 

“We got really quiet at the end of the first half. We just unraveled. We didn’t play with the same level of passion as the first 17 minutes of the game. You can’t do that against Arizona, especially in their own building.”

 

“I thought the turnovers killed our spirit. Arizona quickly figured out that we weren’t playing with the same level of energy.”

 

“We have to put a lot of pressure on two guys (J.R. Reynolds and Sean Singletary). We cannot afford for either of them to have a bad game. We need to build our three and four shooters. We didn’t have enough assists tonight and spent too much time sitting around.”

 

“We have a tough stretch of games coming up. We know we need to be ready.”

 

“This Arizona squad is more aggressive and athletic than any Arizona team that I have seen in the past. They may not be as skilled. They are a deep team with good senior leadership. That will take them a long way.” 

 

Virginia guard Sean Singletary

 

“It’s all about the team and we weren’t prepared today. “We are a young team against a tough team on the road. It is a learning experience. “We did some good things in the first half. We had bad execution in the second half.”

 

Virginia Guard J.R. Reynolds

 

 “We got out of rhythm and we weren’t doing the things that kept us in the game (in the second half). We didn’t have the same energy. I couldn’t find my rhythm. I tried too hard and didn’t let the game come to me.”

 

 

 

 

 

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