Stanford rolls at McKale

Going into this season most observers knew that Stanford was the kind of team that could give Arizona fits. They were big, physical and always well prepared. The Cardinal were all of those things and more as they dismantled Arizona 82-72, winning their fourth straight game at McKale Center and handing the Wildcats their second worst home loss in the Lute Olson era.

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Stanford always seemed a step ahead. They had an answer for every Wildcat rally. The Cats would make a big shot or go on a quick run and Stanford would return the favor with a bigger shot or a run of their own.

"Every time we made a run they'd make a three or get a dunk," Channing Frye said.

Arizona never got the big run. They never had the hot streak. The few times they out performed Stanford on the defensive end, the offense stalled. A team who made a living with the "run of death" died because they couldn't muster one.

The best move Mike Montgomery made was putting Josh Childress on Salim Stoudamire. Stoudamire gave up seven inches to Childress and the height advantage worked. Stoudamire missed his first six shots and did not make a three-pointer until 11:19 was left in the second half. After two of his best games the past two outings, Stoudamire was held to just 11 points, all of them coming in the second half.

"They just did the little things it takes to win," Frye noted.

Childress played great defensel but he was just as effective on the offensive end. The lanky junior had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Arizona had no answer for the inside play of Justin Davis and Rob Little. The two post players were just too big and too strong. The two combined for 23 pts and 17 rebounds, while holding Arizona's inside duo of Channing Frye and Hassan Adams to just 16 points.

The Stanford defense stymied the Wildcats. Arizona never got into a rhythm. Arizona missed their open shots early, then started rushing shots. The Wildcats shot a paltry 36.2% for the game, and only 19.4% in the decisive first half.

"It doesn't help that we're missing easy shots," Mustafa Shakur said. "I think a lot of times we weren't making good screens and good cuts"

"You can look at every thing you can look at but 19.4% was the difference," Olson said.

Stanford controlled the tempo throughout. Arizona rarely ran and was forced to play in the half court set the vast majority of the game. Arizona did not get a transition bucket until the second half and never got comfortable in the slower paced game.

The lone bright spot was Andre Iguodala who had a double-double with 15-10. Mustafa Shakur had 20 points, but did most of his scoring late in the game when the chance for a comeback was slim. He scored 14 points in the final 4:00 of the game.

It was all Stanford in the early going. The Wildcats were cold and the Cardinal took advantage. Thanks to solid three-point shooting and good inside play, the Cardinal were able to get out to an 18-7 lead 8:30 into the game. Justin Davis and Rob Little established themselves early, each big man with a pair of buckets, plus Little drew a goal tending call. Josh Childress and Chiris Hernandez added a three apiece.

While Stanford was playing their game on offense the Wildcats were struggling. The Wildcats had just three field goals in the first 12:00 and two of those came off of offensive rebounds. The Wildcats got their usual good looks, but just could not knock them down. They missed outside, inside and on put backs. Shots that they usually make in their sleep, just would not fall.

"You can always say it was good defense and it was," Olson said. "You look at the number of cripples that we missed (under the basket), those are the ones you can't miss." Fortunately for the Wildcats, Stanford cooled off as well. After going up 11, the Cardinal did not make another bucket for 5:38, but Arizona did little to cut into the deficit.

Arizona climbed to within seven, but Stanford scored the final six points of the half, including a runner by Hernandez that just did beat the halftime buzzer.

Stanford led by as many as 18 before the Wildcats started to claw back. The Cardinal scored six of the half's first eight point, before that Cats rattled off an 8-0 run including their first first transition points of the game. Shakur had back-to-back transition lay-ups followed by buckets by Frye and Iguodala and suddenly the Wildcats were within 10, 39-29.

That burst of success did not continue. Arizona rushed shots and Stanford got great looks inside. Stanford answered every Arizona rally and maintained a double-digit lead down the stretch.

The Cardinal led by as many as 20 but sloppy play and a tough Arizona full court press allowed the Wildcats to make things respectable late. Shakur had 14 of his 20 points in the final 4:00.

"That doesn't surprise me because the tougher the situation the better he plays," Olson said about the play of his freshman point guard.

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