Salim shoots Cats past the Bruins

Salim Stoudamire hit his first three-pointer of the game and never cooled off. The junior guard scored a career high 34 points as the Wildcats fought off a series of UCLA runs to win 107-83 and sweep the season series from the Bruins.

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Stoudamire's career-high 34 points eclipsed the 32 he dropped on Kansas last season. He knocked down 7-of-9 threes and 14-17 overall.

He's a great shooter," Lute Olson said. "If he has great shots, he'll shoot a great percentage. Seventeen shots for 34 points is very impressive. Of those shots, only one shouldn't have been taken."

Stoudamire was hot early and often. The only thing that could slow him down was the officials. Stoudamire picked up four fouls.

Stoudamire was not only hot from the outside, but he was unstoppable when putting the ball on the floor. The Bruin defenders were so worried about the long ball, that his head fake routinely got him into the lane. He had two acrobatic lay-ins, including a highlight reel reverse.

Chris Rodgers got his third start of the season and responded with 16 points. Rodgers was also a terror on defense getting four steals and forcing numerous turnovers.

"He created a lot of turnovers you don't see (in the stats)," Olson said. "He pressured a lot of plays where someone else made the steal."

Rodgers 16 points included eight in a 26 second span of the first half when the Cats forced turnovers on four consecutive possessions.

"He gave us a spark," Mustafa Shakur said of Rodgers.

Almost lost in the performance of Rodgers and Stoudamire was Andre Iguodala's third triple-double of the year. He got a late assist to Ivan Radenovic, and wound up with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. He also led the Cats in steals with five.

"Andre came up with some nice steals," Olson said. "It was a good triple-double for him, plus one of those was not steals and he had five of those."

The Cats used the press at times to force 28 turnovers. They scored 50 points off of UCLA mistakes, but allowed the Bruins to shoot 66% from the field.

Dijon Thompson scored 20 points and was one of four Bruins to reach double figures. Freshman Trevor Ariza came up just two assists short in his quest for a triple-double. Arizona had 14 point, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Both teams came out of the shoot hot. The Bruins scored on their first four possessions, while the Wildcats converted on six of their first seven possessions.

The game was tight until the Cats got hot from the outside and began to force turnovers with the press. Arizona rattled off a 21-4 run that saw them knock down three consecutive three-pointers. Even more remarkable was the fact that during the bulk of the run the Cats played without a big man. Channing Frye played only 10 minutes in the first half and sat with two fouls. With Frye on the bench, Olson went with a frontline of Adams and Iguodala.

UCLA crept back into the game with a 12-2 run that saw them get back into the contest after trailing by as many as 16. Thompson scored five points in the run, including a deep three and a tough drive. A TJ Cummings bucket capped the drive and trimmed the Wildcats lead to 35-29.

Another UCLA run had the Bruins within one before the Cats cranked up the defensive intensity. Four consecutive UCLA turnovers gave the Cats 10 straight points and an 11 point halftime lead at 57-46.

UCLA made a series of runs only to have the Cats counter each with a run of their own. The Bruins got within six only to have Arizona quickly push the lead back to double figures with a 10-1 run that put them up 76-61.

To their credit, the Bruins refused to fold. They quickly answered with a three-point play by Bozeman. Stoudamire scored a put-back, then UCLA scored 8-of-11 and were within nine.

Arizona went back to the press and ended any comeback thoughts the Bruins may have had. Arizona forced a series of turnovers that the Wildcats used to score seven straight. A few minutes later Stoudamire hit a 22-foot three-pointer that gave the Cats 100 points and the only mystery was if Iguodala would get his triple-double.


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