Cat down Boilermakers

ANAHEIM – Arizona faced their first unranked team of the young season and faced no let down in defeating Purdue 79-66 in the first game of the eighth annual Wooden Classic. Luke Walton put on a show in front of his father's former college coach.

The Wildcat juniors led the way for the Wildcats. The threesome of Luke Walton, Jason Gardner and Rick Anderson combined to score 48 of the team's 79 points. Walton and Anderson each scored 17, while Gardner added 14.

Walton continued his all-around solid play. In addition to the scoring Walton had 13 rebounds, six assists and a block in the game in which his father Bill Walton served as an announcer.

Anderson, a Long Beach native, had nine rebounds and a career high four blocked shots.

"Luke had a double-double again and Ricky was one rebound short of one," said Lute Olson. "I thought the board play of Ricky and Luke set the tone."

The Wildcats shot a season high .538 from the field and won the rebounding battle 49-28.

"They were not as physical," said Isaiah Fox who had five rebounds and eight points in only 14 minutes, "(John) Allison was their only banger and he isn't as big as we are."

The Boilermakers actually scored the game's first points and led at one point 4-2, but quickly fell behind as the Cats sprinted out to a 19-3 run, leading 25-9 before Purdue strung together multiple scores. Purdue actually went without a fieldgoal for 5:34

"We were very pleased with the first half," Olson said. "Our half court defense was excellent."

The Cats led by as many as 23 in the first half when an Andrew Zahn tip-in gave the Cats a 45-22 lead.

In the second half Purdue slowly chipped away at the Wildcats' 19-point halftime lead. Austin Parkinson's steal and subsequent lay-in cut the lead to 14, 58-44, with 13:45 to play.

Purdue wasn't done. A Darmetreis Kilgore three-pointer at 9:32 trimmed the lead to a mere ten. It appeared as if Gene Keady's squad might make things interesting, but they could get no closer than 10.

"We had the game in control the whole time," Fox said. "We just had to make sure it didn't get away from us."

Walton paced the Cats down the stretch, driving past Purdue defenders for easy buckets on three separate occasions. His turn-around jumper gave the Cats a 73-54 lead and they never looked back.

Purdue hung around, but just couldn't overcome the three Wildcat Juniors.

"They've done as good as any group I've ever had in terms of leadership," Olson said of the three Juniors.


Wildcat Authority Top Stories