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The Wildcats were just too big and too athletic for the visitors from Down Under. The Comets had just two players over 6-9, the same as the Wildcats, but could not handle the more athletic Arizona forwards who used their superior leaping ability to gain a 60-41 rebounding edge.
"I thought it would be a tougher game," confessed Andre Iguodala. "I have to give ourselves some credit. We came out and played well."
Iguodala was the story. The sophomore scored 19 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out seven assists. He was a stellar 8-of-10 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
"Andre did a great job in all aspects of the game," Lute Olson said. "On the boards, assists and defensively he was good. Their best scorer, (David) Barlow, had 18 last night, but Andre held him to 1-for-8 tonight."
The Cats got away with sloppy play, due largely to their shooting ability. They shot 51.3% percent and would have been even sharper had it not been for a late dry spell from the reserves when the game was in the bag. Matt Brase, Fil Torres and Jason Ranne were a combined 0-for-9 from the field. Without the three walk-ons, the Cats hit 40-of-69 shots.
Arizona was just as stellar defensively. The UA gave the Comets fits all night long. Sydney shot a paltry 31 percent and committed 21 turnovers.
"Defensively we were very active, and overall we were very sound on the defensive side," said Olson.
Early on it was all Hassan Adams for the Wildcats. The sophomore swingman had the Cats' first four field goals and was the spark in a 10-0 run and a 10-2 lead in the early going.
Adams got the scoring started in fine fashion, laying-in an alley-oop from Iguodala. On the next possession he sank a baseline jumper. After two Mustafa Shakur free throws, Adams put home a hook shot and capped the scoring spurt with an 18-foot jumper from the key.
Adams led all scorers with 22 points and was 10-for-13 from the field.
Arizona showed early on it was just too good. The Comets did not reach double-figure scoring until there was 9:56 left in the first half and found themselves down 20 just a few moments later when a Chris Rodgers three-pointer made it 33-12.
The Cats' superior speed and rebounding put them up 30 with over six minutes to play in the half. They rattled off an 11-0 run that gave them a 44-14 lead. The Comets scored on each of their next three possessions to trim the margin to less than 30, but each time the Wildcats answered as if they were determined to keep that lofty lead in tact.
"It was obvious that we were just too quick up and down the court for them," Olson said.
The Comets had little chance of coming back in the second half, but any last vestige of hope was dashed when an Adams dunk put the Wildcats up 72-32.
The only drama left was when the Wildcats would hit 100. The McKale faithful did not have to wait too long. Kirk Walters drilled a short jumper with 6:59 left to put the Wildcats over the century mark, 101-50.
For Walters it was a solid debut. The freshman big man saw extra time due to Isaiah Fox's two-game suspension.
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