Nov 27, 2002
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona coach Lute Olson watched his top-ranked Wildcats struggle mightily against Northern Arizona for 20 minutes, then provided some simple advice.
"We suggested they play harder," he said.
The suggestion no doubt was presented with a bit more emphasis than that, and it was heeded. The Wildcats outscored the Lumberjacks 57-27 in the second half Wednesday night to complete a 101-66 rout.
"We really got after them," Olson said.
Will Bynum scored a career-high 18 points, all on 3-pointers.
Jason Gardner scored 24, including five of six 3-pointers, and had five assists. The Lumberjacks committed 26 turnovers against the Wildcats' trapping, full-court defense.
Freshman Hassan Adams added 21 points as five Arizona players reached double figures.
Luke Walton left the game with 15:42 to play in the first half with a sprained right ankle and did not return. The team trainer said the injury was in a different place than a sprain in the same ankle that sidelined Walton for the first exhibition game.
Olson and Walton said the injury wasn't serious, and the preseason All-American forward expected to play Tuesday night against Saint Louis.
"I will be eating a big, fat turkey on Thursday," he said, "and icing my foot. It will be ice and turkey."
Arizona (2-0) also didn't have Salim Stoudamire, last season's Pac-10 freshman of the year, who has yet to play this season because of a sprained left ankle. Stoudamire will play Tuesday, Olson said.
"He could have played tonight, but we wanted to be cautious," Olson said.
Northern Arizona's Kelly Golob scored 14, including four of seven 3s, while Ryan McDade and Aaron Bond added 12 points each.
The Lumberjacks (1-2) of the Big Sky Conference, who were listed as 34-point underdogs, trailed just 44-39 at the break.
"We did not have a good practice yesterday, and we played that way in the first half," Olson said. "I think it will be a learning experience for them, that you're going to play how you practice."
Arizona scored the first 13 points of the second half to go up 57-39 on Adams' layup, which followed a Northern Arizona turnover.
Northern Arizona cut the lead to 70-56 on Bond's stuff with 10:10 to go, then Arizona put it away with a 16-2 run, punctuated by Gardner's final 3-pointer.
Arizona eased off its full-court defense in the final 10 minutes.
"I'd wait for the game where they're actually doing that the entire ballgame," Adras marveled, "and it may not happen. They're that good."
Walk-on Fil Torres sank a 3-pointer at the final buzzer to put Arizona over the century mark and beat the 34-point spread. Olson was yelling at Torres not to shoot.
"That was in really poor taste," Olson said of the 3-pointer. "He wasn't listening to me. What that tells me is he doesn't want to play the next three or four games."