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Arizona led by as many as 19, but saw the Longhorns go on a 14-4 run and close the Wildcat lead to just six in the final minutes, but could get no closer. Brian Boddicker and Kenny Taylor's three-point shooting brought the Longhorns back, but they couldn't overcome Arizona's athleticism.
Hassan Adams was the story. The sophomore got it done on both ends of the court. He scored a career-high 29 points and kept the Texas big men from dominating on the inside. Adams was matched up on power forwards, but the Longhorns' big men had no answer for the 6-4 forward's quickness. Adams scored inside and out, and he was consistent enough from the outside to keep his defenders off balance.
Despite having five quality big men, Texas was unable to capitalize against the undersized Wildcats. Ironically, it was an undersized power forward who was the only Horn to have a good game as 6-5 freshman P.J. Tucker scored 16 points, 12 in the second half. James Thomas, Brad Buckman and Jason Klontz combined for just 12 points. Brian Boddicker scored 13, but most of his points came from behind the arc.
"It looked like the Salim of old in the second half," Lute Olson said.
Salim Stoudamire was shut out in the first half, but paced the Cats with 17 points in the second half. Stoudamire was 3-6 behind the arc and scored another six at the line.
Andre Iguodala had the first triple-double of his career. He scored 13 points, added 13 rebounds and handed out 10 assists. For the season he has an assist to turnover ratio that is better than 4-1.
The Cats stormed out of the gates, using their speed and hot shooting to take an early 11-2 lead. Adams and Iguodala set the tempo. Iguodala banked home a shot on the first possession, then Adams scored the next seven points, including a three-pointer from the top of the key. Iguodala finished off the run with an impressive one-hand slam off a lob pass from Shakur.
Adams was key in the early going. He scored 16 in the first half, including a pair of early three-pointers that kept the Texas defenders off balance.
"Hassan shot the ball really well early and made them adjust," Olson said. "They didn't think he could hit that shot and left him alone. He hit some big shots early on and made them come out after him."
Texas started out cold, but soon found their shooting rhythm. A trio of threes allowed Texas to pull within a bucket. JC transfer Edgar Moreno scored back to back buckets, including a lay-up in transition, and Texas had their first lead at 22-20.
The rest of the first half was a seesaw affair, with four ties and a pair of lead changes. Neither club scored more than two straight buckets. Despite Texas shooting 30%, the Cats took just a single-point lead, 37-36, into the half.
The second half started out like it was going to be more of the same. The teams took turns trading buckets for the first minute or two, then the Cats exploded. Arizona used their speed and a pair of Stoudamire three-pointers to jump out to an 11-point lead following a 12-2 run. Mouton added a free throw before the Cats rattled off eight in a row, including a pair of buckets by Channing Frye.
The Cats built a 19-point lead before Texas made a come back. The Longhorns found their outside stroke and went to full court pressing defense which seemed to rattle the young Wildcats. Texas got as close as six, but could not make the big shot to get any closer.
"We did not do a good against the press," Olson said. "We work on it every day in practice, but we still struggled."
The Wildcats made their free throws late and got the key rebounds down the stretch to hold on.
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