Jan 6, 2002
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - No. 15 Arizona, down by 19 points early in the second half, rallied behind Jason Gardner and a harassing full-court press to beat Oregon State 93-87 Sunday night.
Gardner tied his career high with 34 points, 23 of them in the second half, and led a scrappy defense that quickly got the Wildcats back in it after trailing 55-38 at halftime.
The junior point guard, who also had six assists, scored 14 of Arizona's final 16 points. After teammate Rick Anderson missed two free throws with 11 seconds to play, Gardner grabbed the offensive rebound before sealing it with two final free throws.
Arizona, coming off a 90-80 home loss to Oregon on Friday, hasn't lost two in a row at McKale Center since 1983-84, coach Lute Olson's first season at the school.
The Beavers, who haven't won at McKale in 18 years, shot 76 percent in the first half (19-for-25), mostly on wide open jumpers, but were 12-for-26 in the second half. Still, the Beavers shot 61 percent for the game.
Brian Jackson, who sat out the Beavers' loss at Arizona State on Friday because of a mild concussion, scored 21 points for Oregon State (8-6, 1-3), but had only one point and took just one shot in the second half before fouling out with 3:40 to play.
Jimmie Haywood scored 19 points, including a 3-pointer that cut Arizona's lead to 89-86 with 21 seconds to play. But Gardner sealed it with six consecutive free throws, four in the last 21 seconds.
Philip Ricci added 15 points for Oregon State, while reserve Floyd North III added 11.
Oregon State made 12 consecutive shots, most of them wide-open jumpers, before J.S. Nash missed an open 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer.
Energized by whatever Olson told them at halftime, the Wildcats clamped on a full-court press that erased almost all of the Beavers' lead in the first 4 minutes of the second half.
Ricci scored inside to put Oregon State up 57-38, then Gardner's 3-pointer ignited a 24-6 run that cut the lead to 63-62 on Stoudamire's 3-pointer with 13:34 to play.
The near-capacity crowd was alive again, and Gardner gave high-five's to fans behind press row.
Arizona was without Luke Walton for the third consecutive game with a strained right Achilles' tendon, so when Bynum drew his fourth foul with 14:58 to play, Olson went to walk-on Anas Fellah. Fellah's breakaway layup after a turnover - his first collegiate basket - was part of the rally.
Adam Masten's consecutive 3-pointers boosted the Beavers' lead to 69-62, but the Wildcats mounted a 9-0 run to go ahead 73-72 on Bynum's driving layup with 7:08 remaining, Arizona's first lead since 1-0.
The Wildcats' defense, so tenacious in the second half, was virtually nonexistent in the first.
Masten's driving layup capped an 18-4 run that gave Oregon State a 45-26 lead with 4:40 left in the half. A 5-0 spurt made it 55-34 on Jackson's two free throws 1:21 to play.