This feature column is brought to you by Sharky's Urban Sports Grill. Sharky's is Tucson's latest and greatest place to watch all of your favorite sporting events. Sharky's has something for every sports fan, great food, a tv everywhere you look, great service and both smoking and non-smoking areas. Convieniently located near campus Sharky's is the best place to watch the Cats, catch a pre-game meal or watch any other sporting event.
Lute Olson's team, which was riding so high following the sweep of the L.A. schools, completely lost focus against their in-state rivals. The young Wildcats played like freshmen, freshmen in high school, committing a series of errors not usually seen from an Olson coached team. The Wildcats dropped passes, kicked balls, committed a lane violation and completely lost their focus at times on defense. The Wildcats allowed easy penetration by Sun Devils, while having little or no offensive flow of their own. On a number of occasions ASU players drove the lane for highlight reel dunks.
Arizona got on the board first when Salim Stoudamire connected on his 36th and 37th straight free throws. A few moments later another freshman extended a streak of his own. Phoenix native Channing Frye knocked down a down a 15-foot free throw, making his 17th straight shot.
The Cats outplayed the Devils beating them twice down the court, but twice Rick Anderson was unable to convert on the break. The Cats also utilized the press and 3-2 zone, two tactics that gave the L.A. schools fits. Despite causing ASU some trouble, the Devils hung tough and trailed only 10-8 five minutes into the contest.
Things got rough early. Moments after Jason Gardner hit a three to give Arizona a 13-10 lead, Channing Frye got called for an intentional foul in an altercation with Chad Prewitt. Prewitt gave ASU their first lead with two free throws and a tip-in on the ensuing possession. The foul was the catalyst for a 10-0 run that saw the Devils stretch the lead to 20-13.
ASU's propensity for fouling quickly allowed Arizona to tie the game. Five fouls in less than 2:00 allowed to rattle of seven in a row and knot the game at 20.
Prewitt quickly remedied the situation for the Devils, knocking down two straight threes to put ASU up 26-20 with 7:00 left in the half. Once again Prewitt got a Sun Devil run started. For the second time in the half the Devils went on a 10-0 run, started by Prewitt. The Devils didn't stop there, they kept attacking the Cats, finishing the half on a 26-11 run, and taking a 46-31 lead into the locker room.
ASU got out early on the Cats to start the second half. They scored six of the first eight points of the half and extended their 15-point halftime lead by one, going up 55-39 three minutes into the second half.
Two straight threes, one by Tommy Smith and one from Curtis Millage gave the Devils a 20 point lead, 61-41, with just under 15:00 to play in the game.
Millage put the final nail in the coffin when following a timeout, the ASU guard caught a baseball pass and went the length of the floor for an uncontested slam dunk.
The Cats went to the press with decent results. Although the press only caused one turnover, it focused the Arizona defense and the Cats trimmed the 20 point lead to 13 in just about 5:00.
Arizona got it within 11, but couldn't pull off a miracle finish two games in a row.