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No. 7 Arizona Pushes Past Purdue, 79-66
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/08/2001
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Dec 8, 2001

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By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Luke Walton had a chance to play with his well-known father on hand, along with his father's famous college coach.

The younger Walton did himself proud.

Walton had 17 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and six assists Saturday to lead No. 7 Arizona to a 79-66 victory over Purdue.

The game at Anaheim Arena was the opener of the eighth John R. Wooden Classic, named for the 91-year-old former UCLA coach who guided the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships in a 12-year span ending with his retirement in 1975.

No. 20 UCLA faced No. 16 Alabama in the nightcap.

Bill Walton led the Bruins to two NCAA championships in the early 1970s before an outstanding NBA career, and is now a television color commentator.

"I think Luke's exactly the type of player coach Wooden loves to watch," Arizona coach Lute Olson said. "He's so unselfish, and plays all aspects of the game."

Walton, a 6-foot-8 junior, said it was an honor to be involved in anything Wooden is a part of, and added: "I grew up listening to what he told my father."

After taking a look at the boxscore, Walton poked a little fun at himself, saying: "I'm just upset nobody told me I had eight turnovers. Two more and I could have had a triple-double."

The Wildcats (5-1) committed 20 turnovers to only 13 for the Boilermakers, but a 49-28 rebounding advantage made that a moot point.

"Their rebounding just dominated us," said Purdue coach Gene Keady, who remained stuck at 499 career victories including 19 during the 1995-96 season that were forfeited because of NCAA rules violations. "That was a big key, the boards."

Rick Anderson had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Jason Gardner added 14 points and five assists for the Wildcats, who took command early in avenging a loss to the Boilermakers last season.

Reserve Willie Deane led Purdue (5-3) with 19 points. Darmetreis Kilgore and Joe Marshall added 11 each for the Boilermakers, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Maynard Lewis, who entered as Purdue's leading scorer with a 14.4-point average, was held to six points - all in the second half.

Arizona, vulnerable at times defensively this season, did an excellent job in that area and dominated the backboards in an impressive first half.

The Wildcats outrebounded Purdue 31-12, and made 22 of 39 shots (56.4 percent) in rolling to a 49-30 halftime lead. The Boilermakers hit only 10 of 33 shots (30.3 percent) in the opening 20 minutes.

"I think that was probably one of our best halves of basketball," Olson said. "I thought Jason's leadership and the board play of Ricky and Luke in the first half really set the tone for us.

"Twenty-one more rebounds, that's something they're obviously going to have to get corrected."

Marshall agreed with that assessment.

"Basically, we've got to come together and say, `We're not going to win a game unless we rebound.' Hopefully, this game will make us listen to coach," Marshall said. "He's been through it."

Keady said in a set offense, his team is generally supposed to pass the ball at least five or six times before taking a shot.

"We were 1.6 passes at the half," he added.

Walton made three straight baskets to give Arizona a 12-6 lead, and the Wildcats were on top the rest of the way.

The Boilermakers went six minutes without a field goal before a layup by Marshall, but Gardner made a 3-point shot to extended Arizona's lead to 25-9 after nine minutes.

Baskets by Salim Stoudamire, Gardner and Will Bynum put the Wildcats ahead 43-19 before Purdue went on an 11-6 run to finish the half.

Purdue outscored Arizona 21-8 to draw within 10 points, but Walton scored five points to spark an 11-0 Arizona run, making it 75-54. Purdue went on a 12-4 spurt to finish the game.

Arizona made 35 of 65 shots (53.8 percent) to 23-of-63 (36.5 percent) for Purdue.

Unranked at the beginning of the season, Arizona moved into the Top 10 thanks to victories over No. 3 Maryland, No. 6 Florida and Texas before a 105-97 loss to No. 4 Kansas.

And in their most recent game, the Wildcats beat No. 5 Illinois 87-81. Next up is No. 24 Michigan State, making it three straight Big Ten opponents.

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