May 29, 2002
CAIRNS, Australia - The Arizona Wildcats used a 23-5 run to close the second quarter en route to a 95-84 win over the Kuiym Pride Wednesday night at the Marlin Coast Recreation Centre. The win improved the Wildcats' record to 6-2 on its current 10-game tour of Australia.
For the second consecutive game, it was Salim Stoudamire's outside shooting that turned the tide for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-1 guard from Portland, Ore., connected on 8-of-13 field goal attempts and finished with a team-high 24 points. He scored eight of those points in the decisive second quarter, as Arizona outscored Kuiym, 19-2, over a 3:34 span to break open what was a close game. Bolstered by that run, the Wildcats closed the quarter on a 23-5 spurt and outscored the Pride 32-14 in the period.
"I felt good out there tonight," said Stoudamire. "It was nice to have my legs back and feel strong out there. It helped me hit some big shots down the stretch."
Stoudamire, who connected on 6-of-10 shots from three-point range, opened the second half with a trey to push the Arizona lead to 55-33, its biggest of the game. From there, the Pride outscored Arizona, 31-13 in the quarter to trim the lead to 68-64 by the end of the period.
Kuiym's Billy Ross led the way in that run by scoring 15 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter. Along with teammate Ben Johnson, who chipped in with 21 points, Kuiym was able to get as close as 84-81 with 4:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.
But the backcourt combination of Stoudamire and Jason Gardner had an answer for every Kuiym attack, as the duo took turns hitting big three-point baskets, the last one coming from Stoudamire at the 3:26 mark that effectively put the game out of reach. Kuiym missed its last six shots from the field in the game's final three minutes.
The Wildcats did get some help from the frontcourt, as Channing Frye added 18 points and 14 rebounds. Isaiah Fox put forth a solid effort with 15 points and 10 rebounds, including seven of the team's first nine points.
"I just went in there and tried to play hard," Fox said. "The coaches have been talking to me about putting in a better effort in every game, so I tried to do that tonight. I wanted to be out on the court."
Early on, it looked as though Fox was the only Wildcat to be unaffected by the team's whitewater rafting trip earlier in the day. Assistant coach Josh Pastner said that did contribute quite a bit to the team's generally sloppy play. The Cats tallied 20 turnovers in the contest.
"It definitely was a sloppy game," said Pastner, who handled the head coaching duties this evening. "The bottom line is that we got the win. It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but we'll take it. I'm sure the team will bounce back with a better performance tomorrow."
Arizona's Australian Tour continues tomorrow (May 30), as the team takes on the Cairns Marlins at 8 p.m.