Player of the Game: Anderson rebounds

BERKELEY, CALIF.-All season long Arizona coach Lute Olson has stressed the importance of all three juniors playing well. The past few games the Wildcats have gotten strong performances from Jason Gardner and Luke Walton, while Rick Anderson has been conspicuously absent. Against the Cal Bears, Anderson shined and the Cats won by 10, 68-58.

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The past few games Anderson has struggled with foul trouble and poor shooting. With his struggles, Arizona has struggled right along with him. Against the Bears, the Long Beach native returned to the form that allowed the Cats to steam roll through their early season schedule.

Anderson was active and his aggressiveness showed in the stat book. He scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and pulled down a game high 13 rebounds.

Anderson got the Wildcats going with an early three-pointer.

"That was important to get him started," Lute Olson said of the early trifecta.

He followed it up attacking the hoop with aggression. He had a couple of nice runners and got to the foul line a couple of times as well. He was also good behind the arc. In edition to the early bomb, he hit a big three down the stretch that put the Cats up eight, 57-49. Anderson capped the scoring with a big slam-dunk in the game's final seconds.

Anderson also did his best Luke Walton imitation when he made a couple of nice passes for assists. He had a great pass to Channing Frye down low that resulted in an easy slam-dunk.

Anderson's greatest asset in this game had to be his rebounding. Time and time again an aggressive Anderson pulled down big rebounds for the Wildcats. He had three offensive boards, but it was his 10 on the densive glass that really propelled the team.

Anderson was also aggressive on defense. He was credited with one block and a steal, but he altered a number of Golden Bear shots.

Maybe the most important stat was that while he had four personal fouls, he played 36 minutes. As foul prone as he had been the last few games, it was important to get key minutes from Anderson. He didn't pick up his fourth foul until there was 1:52 left in the contest. Even more critical was the fact that Anderson really didn't commit silly fouls. He avoided the over-the-back calls and reach-in fouls that have been his nemesis the past few weeks.

Olson attributed much of Anderson's success to being active and moving around.

"We try to give him a lot more freedom in terms of his movement," Olson said. "He's better when he is moving and getting opportunities to shoot threes. We need to get him more looks outside."

For his oustanding play, Rick Anderson is the Arizona Health Player of the Game.

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