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Cats Beat Bulldogs, 68-64; Claim Wooden Classic Crown
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/07/2004
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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By JOHN NADEL AP Sports Writer

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Lute Olson could afford to smile after No. 21 Arizona held on to beat No. 15 Mississippi State.

The 70-year-old Hall of Fame coach mostly wore a scowl in the late going thanks to several mistakes and bad decisions by the Wildcats.

Channing Frye had 18 points and 16 rebounds, and Arizona beat the Bulldogs 68-64 Sunday despite being held scoreless for more than 6 minutes down the stretch.

``I thought we defended reasonably well the whole game,'' Olson said. ``Far too many turnovers. It seemed like we were in control, and all of a sudden, we made some bad decisions with the ball.

``To Mississippi State's credit, they kept hanging in. We couldn't get rid of them. I guess we kept the crowd entertained.''

The game at Anaheim Arena was part of the 11th John Wooden Classic, honoring the former Bruins coach who won 10 NCAA championships in a 12-year span before retiring in 1975.

As usual, the 94-year-old Wooden attended the doubleheader.

Frye's basket with just under 6{ minutes remaining gave the Wildcats a 65-56 lead. But the Bulldogs got baskets by Marcus Campbell and Ontario Harper and four points from Gary Ervin to draw within one with 1:46 left.

Arizona's Hassan Adams blocked a shot by Shane Power with 30 seconds to play, and freshman Jawann McClellan made a foul shot 9 seconds later to give the Wildcats a two-point lead.

McClellan missed his second free throw, giving Mississippi State a chance to tie or go ahead. But Ervin threw a bad pass with 5.6 seconds to play, and Frye made two free throws to complete the scoring.

The teams combined for 39 turnovers _ 20 by Mississippi State.

Ervin's was the biggest.

``We had the ball where we wanted it and just didn't deliver the pass,'' Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. ``But that one play doesn't decide the ballgame.''

Adams had 12 points and nine rebounds and Salim Stoudamire scored 12 points for Arizona (5-2). Isaiah Fox added 10 points and Mustafa Shakur had eight points and nine assists.

Winsome Frazier led Mississippi State (6-2) with 18 points despite sitting out the last 6:45 of the first half after being accidentally hit above the left eye by Fox's elbow.

``I just know he had a big old gash,'' Stansbury said. ``He said he could play.''

Campbell had 10 points and 11 rebounds and Ervin scored 10 points.

Lawrence Roberts, who leads Mississippi State in scoring and rebounding, was held to seven points and seven rebounds. He has 41 career double-doubles.

``Lawrence is not at his best,'' Stansbury said. ``You stand Frye behind him, and it's hard to go over the top. And they double-teamed him, too. I don't know who's more athletic than Arizona at so many positions.''

Fox and Frye handled most of the defensive duties on Roberts.

``Early in the game, we were just trying to be physical with him,'' Fox said. ``I think we took him out of his rhythm. It was a real tough matchup.''

Roberts had no excuses, saying the Wildcats came out aggressive and simply did a good job against him.

Roberts had only one point before making a follow shot 2 minutes into the second half, cutting Arizona's lead to 51-42.

Two baskets by Shakur extended Arizona's lead to 50-36 before the Bulldogs, aided by several turnovers by the Wildcats, went on an 18-9 run to draw within five points with 9{ minutes left.

It was 61-56 when Frye blocked a shot by Ervin, setting up an Arizona fast break that Adams capped with a soaring dunk off an alley-oop pass from Shakur. The Bulldogs then turned the ball over and Frye made a jumper to put the Wildcats ahead by nine.

That turned out to be Arizona's last field goal.

``We found a way to hang around,'' Stansbury said. ``The last two minutes, we really took it to them, and they became a little hesitant.''

Arizona's Ivan Radenovic, a starter averaging 8.0 points and 4.7 rebounds, didn't play because of a hip pointer. Fox replaced him in the starting lineup.

The Wooden Classic was moved to Sunday from its traditional Saturday spot to avoid conflicting with the football game between No. 1 USC and UCLA at the Rose Bowl.

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