Arizona Falls to Washington

Eighth ranked Arizona entered the game looking to beat their Pac-10 foe Washington in the Pac-10 Tournament Championship, potentially earning a number one seed for the NCAA tournament. Arizona was unable to overcome a horrendous rebounding performance, and fell 81-72 in the Pac-10 Championship game. Had the Cats won the game, Arizona could have been dancing to the tune of a number one seed. Now all the UA can do is wait.

Arizona opened up the game in a one-three-one zone which proved to be effective as Washington scored just one field goal in the first 2:45 of game play. Salim Stoudamire opened up the game with his 323rd career three-pointer, tying the record set by ASU's Stevin Smith, and went on to tie his career high of 37 points.

"Salim really kept us in the game, and that's big for us," Hassan Adams said.

Washington kept it close mid-way through the first half at 12-8 in a game that would surely be a defensive struggle the rest of the way. Jawann McClellan's past two performances did not go unnoticed as the freshman was the first player off the bench though was only able to contribute five points in the game. All things told the bench did not provide as much of a lift for the Cats as in the past.

"They (Washington) really played hard and were the tougher of the two teams today," said Head Coach Lute Olson.

With 9:15 left in the first half, Stoudamire completed the task and tallied his 324th career three-pointer. He is now the Pac-10 leader for career three-pointers. He did it on his last Pac-10 game. All things told he made seven three-pointers in the game which propelled him to 329 career three-pointers.

"He shot the ball like he shoots it everyday in practice" Frye added.

Arizona and Washington were going back and forth the entire first half until Stoudamire came alive scoring the Arizona's last 18 points of the half. In that streak Stoudamire went 5 for 5 from the field and 4 for 4 from the stripe, leading the team to a 41-33 lead at the half, though the second half was a different story.

"I think the guys were standing around waiting on Salim to make a play and we just can't do that," Olson said.

Washington came out ready in the second half and opened up as much as a four point lead early. Washington began the sequence with a 10-2 run followed shortly after by a 7-0 run, making the score 53-49 in favor of the Huskies.

"I don't want to say that we played bad," Adams said. "We just couldn't get into a flow."

Arizona pulled themselves back into the lead off a 12-2 run and with 5:00 left in the ball game, and Arizona had a 70-64 lead. However, Washington was able to climb back into the game once again and knot up the game at 70 with 2:23 left to play in the ball game.

Washington took a 3 point lead at 75-72 on the strength of a Will Conroy three, and a Nate Robinson rebound. With :46 left in the game, Stoudamire was driving towards the basket looking for a good shot before he tripped and fell, losing the ball out of bounds.

"We missed a lot of lay-ins, and we missed some shots like that, and with the kind of quickness they've got, they were able to pull down rebounds," explained Olson.

Stoudamire later picked up the foul and Robinson went to the line to shoot two. Robinson sunk both free throws giving the Huskies a 77-72 lead and the fouling game started.

"We just need to bounce back, and put all that emotion and stuff behind cause we lost," Shakur said. "We can't let this get us down like it's the end of the season for us."

Stoudamire was clearly the best player of the game with 37 points, and 2 assists. Channing Frye also contributed 14 points and six rebounds. However, the rebounding battle decided the outcome of the game for the Cats who lost the battle on the boards 41-26. In the end it was too much for the UA to overcome and they fell to 27-6, while Washington improved to 27-5.

"We were prepared for this (game)," Adams said. "It was just one of those games. They were making shots and had a lot of extra possessions."

Next up for the Wildcats is the NCAA tournament. The UA will discover where they will be traveling to in the tournament Sunday night. Stay tuned to for continuing coverage of the NCAA Tournament. "It was just one of those games," said Adams. "We'll be ready."

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