Dec 28, 2002
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
Things are looking up for the fourth-ranked Arizona Wildcats.
Stoudamire scored a season-high 23 points and Arizona ran away from Davidson in the second half for a 95-69 victory Saturday in the first round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic.
Arizona (6-1), playing for the first time since being knocked from the No. 1 spot with a 66-65 loss at LSU last Saturday, advanced to face Boston University for the tournament championship Monday night. Boston University (5-5) beat Florida State 84-69.
"The LSU game was a wake-up call," Stoudamire said. "The guys are focused now. We need to leave it all on the court."
Freshman Hassan Adams added 18 points for Arizona, including a pair of spectacular breakaway dunks. Another Arizona freshman, Chris Rodgers, scored 14, his collegiate best by nine points. But his main impact came at the other end of the court.
"The greatest contribution that Rodgers brings to the Arizona team is his defense," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "He created a lot of chaos for us."
"We wanted to come out and show we are still a good team," Adams said. "That loss hurt us and made us stronger."
Stoudamire, the Pac-10 freshman of the year last season but slowed by an ankle injury this season, was 6-for-8 shooting, 2-for-3 on 3-pointers.
"My conditioning is getting better," he said. "In previous games my legs have gone out on me early. Every day it gets better."
Davidson (6-2) entered the game on a six-game winning streak - three over NCAA Division III teams - with its lone loss 95-80 in its season opener at Duke.
Freshman Ian Johnson had 21 points and nine rebounds for Davidson. Peter Anderer added 17, but only five in the second half. He was 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
Leading just 45-39 at the break, Arizona outscored Davidson 34-13 over the first 11 minutes of the second half.
Arizona revved up its running game at the start of the second half. The host Wildcats scored the first nine points to go up 54-39 on Stoudamire's layup with 17:53. The highlight came when Frye blocked Wayne Bernard's shot into the hands of Adams, who soared for a one-handed stuff at the other end.
Walton played after missing two games with a sprained right ankle. He didn't score until sinking a 3-pointer that put Arizona up 68-48 with 11:59 to play.
Walton's statistics didn't show how much he helped his team, coach Lute Olson said.
"You can see what he makes happen with his leadership and his presence," Olson said.
Olson saw some intensity he felt had been missing lately.
"We have to play with emotion and passion," he said. "I thought we did that much better."
The top 3-point shooting team in the nation at 50.3 percent entering the game, the visitors from North Carolina used long-range shots to stay with Arizona for a half. Anderer was 4-for-7 on 3-pointers in the first half, and his team was 7-for-12. After shooting 56 percent overall in the first half, Davidson shot 29 percent in the second and was 2-of-14 from 3-point range.
"We didn't shoot well. That really forced us out of our rhythm," McKillop said. "We were forced to take difficult shots. We are a team that hits singles, not home runs. We played outside our realm."
Arizona's Rick Anderson didn't play. Olson said he sat out because of flu-like symptoms and personal problems.
The full name of the tournament is the Fiesta Bowl Classic Honoring Bobbi Olson, the wife of the Arizona coach who died of cancer two years ago.