Arizona beats Pepperdine 94-71

All season long, fans have been waiting to see Wildcat freshman guard Salim Stoudamire get hot shooting the ball. A 19-point performance at Texas provided a teaser of sorts, but then he fell into a month-long shooting slump. Well, tonight against Pepperdine, Stoudamire busted out of that slump and looked like his cousin, Damon, in doing so.

After getting blown out at Oregon last Saturday, Arizona needed to show that it could bounce back from adversity with a win or two this weekend in the Fiesta Bowl Classic. Tonight, Arizona played with intensity and emotion and led by 30-points most of the way and went on to win the game 94-71.

Stoudamire led the way for the Wildcats with a game and career-high 25 points.

"Salim is back," Jason Gardner said. "He didn't miss, just as he does in practice."

The freshman shooting guard from Lake Oswego, Oregon connected on five of his nine three-point attempts and showed his versaitility with a couple baskets off of drives in the lane and a mid-range jumper to top it off.

Combined with the Oregon game, Stoudamire is seven for his last 12 from deep and 13-20 from the field in the last two ballgames.

The Wildcats built a 51-27 halftime lead behind the outside shooting of Stoudamire and senior point guard Jason Gardner, who combined to hit five three-pointers before the break. Gardner went on to finish the game with 16 points on 4-6 shooting from long range.

One of the primary problems Arizona faced in the loss in Eugene was the lack of perimeter defense played against the Ducks backcourt. Because of the lack of pressure on the shooters, Oregon wound up making 13 threes and cruised to an easy win.

The Cats made sure Pepperdine would not have the same success with its outside shooting and held the Waves to four three-pointers in 25 attempts (16%, compared to Oregon's 59%).

All of Arizona's freshmen played well, with Stoudamire and center Channing Frye standing out.

Frye had his fourth straight outstanding performance by collecting 18 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. He was a force on both sides of the ball and is showing that the progress he made on the Oregon trip was no fluke. Five of his ten rebounds were offensive and he scored off of four of them. That's production.

"Tonight was our redemption night," Frye said. "We went out there, got the team down and got some fire. Everyone came out and we played well."

Forward Dennis Latimore didn't shoot well--in fact, he didn't even look comfortable on offense once again--but he did manage to stay aggressive and pull down nine rebounds. The one basket he did make followed a very impressive move that began with his back to the basket and a series of fakes before losing his man for a layup.

Isaiah Fox had nine points and four rebounds, while Will Bynum dazzled the crowd with two highlight reel reverse layups and several no-look passes for assists. Bynum had four points and four assists and looked good doing it. With more playing time and additional tutilege from Gardner and the Wildcat coaching staff, Bynum also showed that he could play the point.

Luke Walton, Arizona's best all-around player, left the game just before halftime with a strained right achilles tendon. He sat out the entire second half while receiving electro-stimulus therapy and ice treatment to prevent further damage. He finished with five points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal while playing less than half of the game. His status for Sunday is unknown at this time.

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