4250 W. Ina 572-7200
2720 N. Oracle 624-4300
5602 E. Speedway Blvd. 747-4838
Stoudamire scored 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, despite resting the final eight minutes of the game. He was off a bit in the opening moments, but seemingly hit everything after a monster dunk along with a pair of late three-pointers. He exploded in the second half, scoring 11 straight at one point.
"It seemed like I was throwing it in the ocean," Stoudamire said. "It was fun." The big man battle was fairly even. Ike Diogu and Channing Frye both played like the conference's best post players. Diogu had the scoring edge 18-17, but Frye was more efficient, shooting a stellar 62 percent from the field.
The plan was to limit Diogu's touches. The strategy worked. ASU struggled from the outside when it counted and the Wildcats were able to pack the inside. Diogu got his points, but made just 5-of-17 shots from the floor.
The performances by Frye and Stoudamire came just one game after they struggled against Louisiana-Lafayette. The pair combined for just eight points, with Stoudamire being held scoreless. The two had lunch this week to discuss this game and their roles. Apparently the mutual challenge worked.
"We discussed how we have to be leaders over lunch," Frye said. "We talked about stepping up."
It was the Wildcats' superior shooting skills that proved to be the difference. Arizona shot 56 percent as a team, while the Devils shot 39 percent from the field, but needed a lot of garbage time buckets to up the percentage from the 30 level in the first half.
Both clubs came out working hard on the defensive end. Each squad had no buckets and a pair of turnovers before Frye scored down low, drawing the foul in the process. ASU did not score for the first 3:12, but due to its defensive pressure trailed just 5-0 when Diogu picked up a lose ball and slammed it home.
Arizona soon went to the 1-3-1 zone, a defense it employed a lot last season, and was able to build a modest nine-point lead. Stoudamire scored five straight, a runner and a three, to give the Wildcats a 16-7 edge.
The Devils found a crack in the zone and took advantage. First they got the ball inside when Frye sat the bench, then they got hot from the outside. Jamal Hill and Allen Morill hit back-to-back threes from the wing and the Arizona lead was trimmed to one, 20-19.
Following the Moore three, Arizona promptly got out on a 11-2 run. Ivan Radenovic showed a new move, a left-handed runner to start the run. Shakur drove the lane and Adams added a three before Frye capped things off with a dunk and a lob lay-in.
ASU's lone points in the stretch were a pair of Diogu foul shots. The drought was 5:30 without a field goal before the big man scored inside.
Arizona pulled away by outscoring the Devils 15-5 over the final 5:32 of the half. They led 46-30, but things could have been worse had Diogu not drained a three from the corner in the final seconds before intermission.
The 16-point halftime lead quickly became 20 in the opening minutes of the second half. The Wildcats scored eight of the half's first 10 points to take a 54-32 lead. Adams opened the scoring, Stoudamire drained his third three-pointer, and Iguodala scored a bucket and converted 1-of-2 free throws.
The teams essentially traded buckets for several minutes. Hill had nine of the Devils' 11 points in the stretch. He was able to get open on the wing and bury the jumper.
The lead soon grew to 31 and it was all Stoudamire. The junior guard scored 11 in a row for Arizona, hitting a trio of three-pointers, a 19-foot jumper and assisting on a Radenovic lay-in before Frye's transition, one-handed slam made it 81-50.
Stevie Moore and the Arizona bench allowed the Devils to make things a bit more respectable. With most of the Arizona starters on the bench, ASU used a very effective press to trim the lead. ASU outscored Arizona 24-9 down the stretch, with Moore scoring 11 points late in the game.
Olson showed some unusual passion in a strange interaction with the ASU student section. After picking up a late technical foul, the students began serenading Olson with a string of insults and obscenities. Olson calmly walked toward the students, shrugged his shoulders and pointed to a pair of scoreboards.
"I put up with learning all kinds of new words," Olson remarked. "You should probably keep your mouth shut down 30-something. Frankly the language is disgusting. I've been embarrassed by things I've heard from their fans.
Talk about this on the BASKETBALL MESSAGE BOARD