"What more can you say about Channing [Frye] and Salim [Stoudamire]," Head Coach Lute Olson said. "They have started all four years and it's pretty obvious they've worked hard to become better basketball players."
Oregon State connected on an early Nick DeWitz three, and it was the only lead of the afternoon. From that point on, it was all Arizona as the UA went on a 15-0 run that left little doubt as to the ultimate outcome.
Salim Stoudamire got things going with a three-pointer, and Channing Frye exploded for eight of the game's first 16 points. Frye dominated the undersized Beavers on the inside, and took advantage of fastbreak opportunities in his electric start.
But Frye and the Wildcats went cold shortly thereafter, and Oregon State stormed back to make it competitive. OSU cut what was once a 21-7 deficit to 23-20 at the nine-minute mark of the first half.
DeWitz and David Lucas were instrumental for the Beavers early on contributing the team's first 16 points. DeWitz ended the game with 16 points, and Lucas contributed 15 on his own. However, the rest of the team, with the exception of Jason Fontenet's 16, went cold from the field.
The Beavers even had possessions with a chance to tie on a few occasions, but couldn't convert, and eventually Arizona heated up on offense again.
Then it was time for the Stoudamire show. The senior hit four threes in the final three minutes of the half, including one from close to 30-feet, and another from the well beyond the top of the key at the buzzer, to put the UA up 45-33 at the break. Stoudamire was 6-of-8 from three-point range in the first half to lead all scorers with 20 points. Frye added 10 points as the UA seniors combined for two-thirds of the team's overall offensive production.
"Salim has the hot hand," Mustafa Shakur added. "When someone is as hot as him, you do everything you can to get him as many touches as possible."
Arizona seemed sloppy in the first half, but still had the big lead. In the second half, it was all Arizona.
"We knew the first half was getting the butterflies out," Hassan Adams explained.
Arizona controlled the glass, notably on the offensive end, and those second-shot opportunities put the game away.
Frye led the way on the boards with 11 rebounds, and Adams was close behind with 10 of his own. The Cats out rebounded the Beavers 44-37 on the day.
Stoudamire cooled down a bit in the second half, but still set the school record with nine three-pointers and 31 points on the afternoon. His school record-setting ninth three occurred with 10:15 to go in the game. Frye added 15, while junior Hassan Adams, who some think may have played his final game at McKale Center as well, added a double-double.
Stoudamire was one shy of the Pac-10 record, which Olson did not realize until after the game.
"One short of the Pac-10 record?" Olson asked. "No, we were not told that. (If I had known) I would have left him in."
Senior Matt Brase checked in with 6:48 to play, and got an offensive rebound tip-in with 4:42 to go, and converted the game's final bucket on a breakaway layup.
"It was good to see Matt [Brase] get a few more minutes than he usually does," Olson explained.
The four points were a career high for Olson's grandson, and he set another career high with four rebounds in the game.
"This has been a great experience," said Brase. "I've probably seen every game while growing up. I just want to stay involved for as long as possible."
Arizona upped its record to 23-4 overall, 13-2 in Pac-10 play. It travels to Washington State Thursday evening.
"Over the last few weeks it's unbelievable how they've played," Olson said. "Getting the ball up and down the court, playing good defense. It's been good."