Cats win last exhibition game

The Wildcats had a perfect opportunity with the Nike Elite coming to town. With two weeks between regular season games, scheduling an exhibition was just what the doctor ordered for the young Wildcats. Arizona won 89-83 in a meaningless game that allowed Lute Olson to experiment with a variety of players and line-ups.

Freshman Channing Frye stole the show. The Wildcat center had a stellar night scoring 21 points and pulling down five rebounds. He was also solid on the defensive end, blocking two shots and altering several others.

"He (Frye) did a good job," said Olson. "He's making really good progress."

Jason Gardner had another good game for the Cats, scoring 22 points. The Wildcat point guard actually got to sit in the game as freshmen Will Bynum and Salim Stoudamire played significant minutes, including pairing together down the stretch of a tight ball game.

The Cats played sloppy, never shaking the team of former college standouts. The Cats committed 19 turnovers and had some serious defensive lapses that allowed the Nike team to be within five in the final minute. The Elite team had a chance to cut the lead even closer but could not connect on a three shot possession before the ball rolled out of bounds and the Cats iced the game.

The Cats jumped out to a 10-0 lead and hit their first four three pointers. Instead of burying the Nike Elite, the Cats allowed them to stay in the game. The Elite shot 58.3% in the first half as the two teams traded leads.

"The first half we let them run anything," Olson said.

The Elite only shot 36% in the second half, and although the Cats couldn't break the game open, they did control the half.

"The second half we were better defensively," said Olson. "We didn't let them do what they wanted to do. They didn't change as shooters, we changed as defenders."

A number of Wildcats saw significant playing time, most notably Dennis Latimore who logged over 20 minutes and pulled down seven rebounds.

The Wildcats return to action next Saturday when they host the seventh-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.

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