Regular season ends on a high note

Arizona used a 20-3 run late in the second half to close out the Arizona State Sun Devils and the regular season. The Cats won 106-81 and look forward to the post season, while ASU, thanks to their 10th place finish in the Pac-10, see their season come to an end.

Arizona had five players in double figures, four of whom scored over 20. The Cats shot 54.2% from the floor and 40% from behind the arc.

The Wildcat were able to string together run after run, while the Devils struggled offensively.

. Ike Diogu scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, including seven offensive boards, but was never able to take over the game. Arizona mixed up its defense, switching from zone to man coverage, and used a lot of help defense to contain the talented big man.

Channing Frye continued his great play against ASU. The Phoenix native had 20 points and seven rebounds, despite being saddled with foul trouble in the first half. In the second half he had a stretch where he scored ten straight points for the Wildcats. Frye's dominance really opened the outside up for the Wildcat guards.

"My teammates understand that we need to establish the post presence," said Frye, who touched the ball inside on five straight possessions. "I needed to be aggressive. I was the most rested after not playing much in the first half."

Defensively the Devils could do little to contain Arizona. The Wildcats were able to run in transition after Sun Devil turnovers and score in the halfcourt game as well.

Chris Rodgers was hot from the outside. The sophomore pumped in a career-high 20 points, hitting 8-of-10 field goal attempts and 3-of-4 three pointers. He added three assists as well. It was one of his best games in a Wildcat uniform, ranking right up there with the UCLA game at McKale.

"Chris is a great shooter," Lute Olson said. "The biggest thing there is moving without the ball and being ready to catch and shoot."

Salim Stoudamire and Hassan Adams led the Wildcats with 21 each.

Although he failed to reach double-figures, Mustafa Shakur may have had the best game of all. The freshman point guard dished out eleven assists and gave up the ball just once on a turnover. He added five rebounds and was just aggressive enough on offense to keep the defense honest.

"Mustafa played very well," Olson said. "He plays with so much poise and confidence."

Arizona started the game on fire, but cooled off just as quick. The Wildcats led 6-0 in the opening two minutes, but a pair of Kevin Kruger three pointers quickly tied the game at six.

Kruger was am offensive threat for ASU. He scored 22 points, making six three pointers.

"Kevin Kruger gave our team hope," said ASU coach Rob Evans.

Kruger's third three gave the Devils their first lead 11-8, but after that Arizona exploded. The Cats scored 18 of the next 22 points and a Chris Rodgers three made it 26-15. All told, the Cats made four three-pointers during the run, including back-to-back tres by Stoudamire.

Two runs, one by each team, filled the next 5:00. The Cats went ice cold and the Sun Devils responded with 10 in a row. Diogu got things started with his second field goal and a Stevie Moore three-pointer a few minutes later had ASU within one, 26-25.

Arizona responded by scoring nine in a row. Rodgers snapped the dry spell with a three-pointer, a steal and lay-in. Adams followed with a three, before Shakur finished the run by making one-of-two free throws.

Kruger hit another three, then the Cats rattled off another 11 in a row and took a 46-32 lead at the half.

Frye sparked the Cats to start the second half, but more hot shooting from Kruger allowed the Devils to keep pace.

The Wildcat center played just nine minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls. He came out and was the focal part of the offense on five straight possessions. He scored 10 quick points, including a pair of old fashioned three-point plays.

The Cats continued to build the lead with yet another run. This time the Cats scored 11 straight and pushed the lead over 20 when Stoudamire buried a -pointer that put the Cats up 69-47.

From there the Wildcats cruised to victory and will play USC in the first game of Pac-10 Tournament Thursday night at 9:45 MST.


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