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Brad Boyd got a last look at a game-tying three-pointer, but the shot was just off the mark and Arizona survived despite two long droughts without a field goal.
"I kind of hesitated with the shot and (Channing) Frye was jumping right there," Boyd said. "I felt it was a good shot, but it just didn't go in."
The game winner was not designed to go to Iguodala, but was instead a lob play to Channing Frye. The defense swarmed to the ball side, which left Iguodala open on the opposite side. Mustafa Shakur made a difficult bounce pass and Iguodala buried the shot with a sprawling Cajun defender falling at his feet.
"He was wide open and I just hit him," Shakur said. "Iggy makes big-time plays. I knew he was going to hit that shot. Our guys step up when they need to."
Arizona went two long stretches, 6:37 and 6:49, without a bucket but managed to hold on and spoil Jessie Evans' attempt at upsetting his mentor Lute Olson. The former Arizona assistant threw everything he had at his old ball club, but it wasn't quite enough to give the Wildcats their second loss in the tourney.
Evans had his team in a match-up zone defense in an effort to keep the ball out of Frye's hands. He dared the Wildcat guards to beat him behind the arc and for the most part the ploy was successful. Frye found himself going up against a trio of physical players inside, while guards swarmed in to help. Frye managed just three shots, one of which was a three-pointer, and was held to eight points.
The guards did not help much either. Chris Rodgers, Mustafa Shakur and Salim Stoudamire combined to hit just 1-of-14 three-point shots. Stoudamire was held scoreless, while Rodgers and Shakur had just seven and six points, repectively.
"We played a zone, but it's more of a match-up," Evans said. "When you play a team like Arizona you want to make their shooters shoot."
It was the super sophomores, Hassan Adams and Iguodala, that propelled the Cats to the win. Adams scored 23 points while Iguodala added 20. Both had hit the boards hard, pulling down 14 and nine rebounds, respectively.
"Adams and Iguodala stepped up," Evans said. "Good teams will find a way to get it done."
Rebounds were key. The Wildcats grabbed 17 more rebounds than the Ragin' Cajuns, including 20 on the offensive glass.
Where the Wildcats were not successful was in taking care of the ball. Arizona committed 23 turnovers, 16 coming off of steals.
"One thing that kept them in there were all the steals," noted Lute Olson. "They had 16 steals and probably had 11 lay-ins at the other end. Some of it is due to their really quick hands."
Antoine Landry was on fire for the Ragin Cajuns, especially in the second half. He scored 20 points, making 6-of-10 three-pointers. Brad Boyd, Lafayette's leading scorer, struggled, making just 3-of-17 behind the arc.
The Ragin' Cajuns came out firing. They knocked down three early three-pointers and took a 9-0 lead before Adams got Arizona on the board with a bank high off the glass. Chris Cameron added a put-back and the visitors had a commanding 11-2 lead in the early minutes.
Louisiana Lafayette held the lead for over 13 minutes, fending off the Adams inspired rally. Adams scored 13 of the team's first 20 points and it was that unbalanced scoring that allowed the Cajuns to remain out in front.
Arizona finally took the lead on a three-pointer by a most unlikely source. With the shot clock winding down, Frye found himself alone on the wing and knocked down the three-pointer to give the Cats a 26-24 lead.
Lafayette tied the game on a transition dunk, then Arizona rattled off a 14-2 run and led 40-28. Ivan Radenovic had a pair of three-pointers, one off the glass in the run and Adams ended things with a thunderous slam in transition that actually saw him too deep when he received the pass to do much more than stuff it home.
Radenovic did not have the game he had two nights before, but still played well. He scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end.
Lafayette battled all the way back thanks to the three-point shot and bad shooting by the Wildcats, who went without a field goal for 6:37 and were outscored 19-1 over the stretch. The Ragin' Cajuns knocked down three straight three-pointers and led 47-41.
Arizona regained the lead after scoring seven straight points. Radenovic had a put-back to snap the shooting slump and Iguodala added a three-pointer. Adams grabbed his 10th rebound on the offensive end and put it back in to put the Wildcats up 48-47.
The teams traded leads four times before the UA built itself a cushion. The game was tied 52-52 when Arizona scored nine of the next 11 points. Rodgers hit a three, Iguodala converted a three-point play and Adams buried a three-pointer from the wing to put the UA up 61-54. Iguodala's bucket was something to behold as he threw down a one-handed baseline jam and drew the foul.
A 10-0 run put the Ragin' Cajuns back on top. Again the Wildcats struggled to score. Landry hit a pair of threes, while Dwayne Mitchell added two buckets of his own, including an alley-oop slam that looked just as if Olson had drawn it up. Landry's second three put his team up 67-65.
"I run a lot of things that they run," noted Evans about the lob play.
The Wildcats tied it on free throws and an Adams slam gave Arizona a 69-67 lead, before Dwayne Mitchell tied things up with a slam of his own. Iguodala's game winner came on the next possession.
"I was thinking that if I get open I knew I had to get it and get it up," said Iguodala. "When it came out of my hand it felt good."
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