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Cats Rout Beavers; Advance to Pac-10 Tournament Title Game
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 12, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Oregon State Beavers never knew what hit them.

No. 8 Arizona had five players in double figures and used a 12-0 run at the start of the second half to complete a record-setting 90-59 victory Friday night in the Pac-10 tournament semifinals.

``That's been something that has happened to this team all season long,'' Arizona coach Lute Olson said about the second-half spurt. ``We were almost letter perfect in the second half with our shooting.''

Channing Frye led the Wildcats with 17 points. The senior, who was 10-of-11 from the floor against Cal, finished 7-of-8 against the Beavers and has shot 89.5 percent in two tourney games.

Arizona (27-5) advanced to Saturday's title game against either No. 14 Washington or Stanford, who met in the late semifinal at Staples Center. It will be their fifth final appearance in eight years.

``I was hoping we'd get an opportunity to play three games because I thought it would get us ready for next week,'' said Olson, who believes Arizona is a credible threat for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. ``We'll try to get the Pony Express going to get the word out East that we played well.''

The top-seeded Wildcats have won a record four tournament titles and their 15-3 tourney record is the best. It was their second straight blowout win, having routed California 88-63 in Thursday's first round.

Arizona's 31-point winning margin set a tournament record, breaking its own mark of 26 points in a 93-67 win over Oregon State in the 1988 title game.

``We've been playing extremely well on the defensive end,'' said Salim Stoudamire, who added 17 points. ``Our defense triggers our offense.''

Oregon State coach Jay John, a former Arizona assistant, said the current Wildcats are better than the 2002-03 team that went 17-1 in the Pac-10. He was on Olson's staff when Arizona made the 2001 Final Four.

``This team has a similar look,'' John said. ``They're in a rhythm now.''

The fifth-seeded Beavers (17-14) have their first winning record since 1989-90 and are likely to make the NIT field, which would be their first postseason berth since that season.

Arizona's Jawann McClellan had 15 off the bench, Hassan Adams added 14 and Mustafa Shakur 10.

Stoudamire hit three 3-pointers, giving him 322 in his career. On Saturday, he could break the conference record of 323 set by Arizona State's Stevin Smith from 1991-94.

David Lucas led Oregon State with 15 points and 12 rebounds, but committed seven of the team's 18 turnovers. Reserve J.S. Nash added 14 points.

``I wasn't into it,'' Lucas said. ``I didn't come ready. It was tough.''

Ahead by five at the break, the Wildcats stunned the Beavers by scoring 12 straight points to start the second half and take a 52-35 lead. Nick DeWitz, one of the Beavers' top scorers, picked up his fourth foul in the run.

``We were in the locker room and said, `We got to make a run,''' Lucas said. ``We came out and they made the run. It put us in a hole.''

After a timeout, Oregon State regrouped with a 6-0 run, highlighted by Lucas' one-handed dunk that excited the crowd. But that was the Beavers' only spurt of the half.

``We made it very hard for them to run the things they had success with in the first half,'' Olson said.

Arizona responded with 3-pointers from Shakur, McClellan and Chris Rodgers over the next five minutes to push its lead to 67-50. The Wildcats missed just 10 shots in the second half.

Just as he did the night before, Olson was able to rest his starters and give his bench valuable playing time.

``People coming off the bench helps us stay fresh in the second half,'' Frye said.

The Beavers failed to outshoot their opponent for the first time in six games. They hit 39 percent, while Arizona connected on 59 percent. Oregon State had held its previous three opponents under 40 percent.

Oregon State's Chris Stephens, who had 17 points in a first-round win over UCLA, didn't score.

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