Taken out of the equation offensively, Stoudamire found other ways to contribute. He electrified the crowd with a steal and no-look flip to a streaking Shakur that cut the Ute margin to 19-18 with nine minutes left in the first half.
"Utah did a great job of totally taking Salim out of the offense," said Olson. "...When that happens to Salim, other guys have to step up."
But for the most part, Arizona had all kinds of trouble with Utah's defense, and Stoudamire was non-existent as Jackson hounded him relentlessly through numerous screens. To compound the situation, the UA went cold from the perimeter, and could only manage offensive rebounds for any real point production. While Arizona's defense was solid, sometimes it broke down on the glass, allowing Utah to convert a pair of tips to up the Ute margin to 25-18 with six minutes to go.
Arizona led the way with 14 offensive rebounds compared to Utah's 9. All things told, Arizona won the rebounding battel 29-26.
The style also led to a half of sloppy play. Both teams combined for 23 first-half turnovers. Stoudamire was held scoreless in the first half. Frye led the UA with eight points, while Utah All-American candidate Andrew Bogut paced all scorers with 13 at the break.
"Bogut is a handful, but I thought we did a good job," Olson said. "We forced him into six turnovers on the inside. He's a player. He knocked down three of four three-pointers, and that created a problem for us. He has a big body and uses both hands well."
Arizona went to the glass to open the second half. An Adams reverse lay-in and Frye putback got the UA even for the first time since early in the first half. Utah answered with a Bogut assist, but Isaiah Fox, in foul trouble for much of the game, matched the effort with a high-low bounce pass to Adams for the dunk.
Stoudamire missed his first shot attempt with 17 minutes left, but Frye was there for the follow as Arizona captured its first lead in 20 minutes. Again, Bogut had a response, this time in the form of a three-pointer that gave Utah a 39-37 lead.
Arizona cut the advantage to one with 12:33 to go when Ivan Radenovic drilled a three-pointer after the teams traded turnovers. Adams' work on the glass kept the UA in touch. He converted four putbacks in the half's first seven minutes.
"The way they were defending in the second half gave us the opportunity to get the ball into the high post," Olson explained. "But we still need to get our low postmen into the action."
A pair of Radenovic free throws gave the Wildcats a 48-47 lead with 11:45 left, but Utah converted an easy dunk on the ensuing possession. Richard Chaney hit a pair of buckets for the Utes, but Frye responded with a friendly-rim three and a blocked shot in the other direction as Utah clung to a two-point lead with 6:58 remaining.
Bogut's 20th point came on an offensive rebound and gave Utah a 56-51 lead with 5:30 to go. Radenovic hit a three to trim the lead to a pair yet again. Bogut and Frye traded offensive fouls as the clock approached the four-minute mark.
Chris Rodgers buried a fadeaway jumper to tie the game with 3:36 to go. Chris Markson converted a pair of free throws following an offensive rebound, but Arizona came back again when Rodgers drove the lane and found Radenovic at the rim with the shot clock winding down. Arizona held on the following possession, and got a Frye layup off a Radenovic assist to capture a two-point lead at the 1:30 mark.
Bogut was whistled for an offensive foul with 1:10 left as Radenovic got defensive position, and for the first time since early in the game, Arizona had the lead and the ball.
Adams all but put the exclamation on the hard-fought battle. He crashed the glass for a powerful dunk on a Rodgers miss. Jackson drew a foul on Adams and converted a pair of free throws to trim the lead to two. Rodgers calmly drained two free throws with 23.6 seconds to go. Utah hit a bucket with nine seconds left, and sent Shakur to the line. The sophomore point guard, who missed a potential game-winner against Wake Forest, hit one of two from the line. With a chance to tie, Utah turned the ball over attempting to push the ball up the floor. Rodgers closed the deal with two more free throws.
"Chris Rodgers' four free-throws down the stretch was vital," Olson said.