Cats hook the 'Horns

The Wildcats survived torid first half shooting by the Longhorns, made some defensive adjustment at the half and prevailed in their first road test of the year. Despite playing on an opponent's home floor for the first time this season, the freshmen-laden Wildcats went on a 14-0 second half run and coasted to a 88-74 victory.

"I thought we did a fabulous job in the second half," said Lute Olson.

Jason Gardner led the Wildcat attack with 28 points. His counter part, Texas true freshman T.J. Ford countered with only four points but had 14 assists.

Salim Stoudamire proved to be "Mr. Second-half", scoring all 19 of his points after the intermission. He started off 0-for-3 in the first half, but shot 5-of-7 during the second 20:00.

Rick Anderson added 14 points and Luke Walton finished with 11. The Wildcats' forwards grabbed nine rebounds apiece.

Three Longhorns, Brandon Mouton, Royal Ivey and Harris all finished with 15, while All-American candidate Chris Owens was held to 11.

Arizona played almost the entire first half in a zone defense and Texas shot well from behind the arc, nailing 7-of-16 three-pointers. Mouton hit a three as the half was running down to give the Longhorns a 43-36 halftime lead. Freshman Sydmill Harris was 4 of 6 from three-point ranges in the half.

"The first half we didn't get out on the three-point shooters," Olson said. "Coach (Rodney) Tention scouted Texas and told the guys that Mouton can shoot the three"

Both teams started out running. Texas got out to the early lead, taking advantage of a couple of Wildcats turnovers.

Gardner gave the Cats their first lead early in the game and his transition lay-up on the very next possession put the Cats up 15-11.

The Longhorns weren't down for very long as Ford got into the lane on a regular basis and found Owens. An Owens free throw with just over 11:00 to play in the first half tied it at 20.

The teams continued the frantic pace, going back and forth. With the Longhorns leading 39-34, Owens made his presence felt again. Owens blocked a Jason Gardner shot into the crowd. Then, following a Wildcat turnover, the All-American candidate finished off a fast break with a thunderous dunk to cap a 6-0 run.

In the second half Texas came out strong as Harris canned his fifth three, Owens caught a lob dunk and suddenly the ‘Horns led 51-39.

However, the Wildcats had made some second half adjustment that slowed the Longhorns attack. Arizona, which had played almost the entire first half in a zone defense that allowed the Longhorns perimeter shooters to fire away at will, went to a man-to-man defense in the second half. The strategy put an end to Texas' long range bombing and allowed the Wildcats to get back into the game.

Down by six points, the Cats came back via the free throw line. Walton hit two, and Stoudamire had a three-point play to cut into the lead.

Following a Wildcats steal, Walton went back to the drive and once again drew the foul. Walton hit both free throws and the Cats' 7-0 run cut it to 51-46 with 17:00 to play.

The Cats continued the scoring run, extending it to 14-0. Before the first TV time out, Anderson hit a 15-footer and Stoudamire canned a three to tie the game at 51. On the next possession Anderson found a streaking Frye, and the freshman's lay-up gave the Cats a 53-51 lead.

The Cats continued the pull away slowly. With the shot clock running down Stoudamire hit a three to put the Cats up by five. Gardner had a lay-in a minute later and the Arizona had a 64-57 lead with 11:00 to play.

Royal Ivey scored eight straight for the Longhorns to chip away at the Wildcat lead. Owens cut the lead to six, 71-65, with a free throw, and a Mouton' put back cut it to four.

Gardner hit another three to Arizona up nine that started a wild series of events. The Longhorns caught the Cats napping and got an easy lay-up, but Stoudamire did the exact same thing to the Horns, but he had to hit his shots from the free throw line. Stoudamire hit both and put the Cats up 78-61.

Stoudamire kept up the frantic pace and scored the Cats' next five, giving Arizona a comfortable 83-71 advantage. Texas went to the full-court press but it was too little too late and the Wildcats improved the season record to an impressive 3-0.

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