Player of the Game

This was a very easy choice. You had one Wildcat set a record for most turnovers in a half, one that missed four shots from within five feet at critical moments and so many missed free throws that the Wildcats simply didn't deserve to be on the same floor with the more determined Cardinal. But then there was Jason Gardner...

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If not for the downright All-American play of Wildcat point guard Jason Gardner, Arizona might have lost to Stanford by 20 points. No exaggeration either.

The junior warrior from Indy played like few at the college level are capable of playing, scoring a game-high 33 points including 20 in the first half.

Gardner's 25-footer at the buzzer of the first half tied the score at 37 apiece and maybe that was actually only prolonging the Wildcat faithful's sense of hope because it was apparent from early on that Stanford was on a mission to pick up the win.

With the Cardinal dominating every aspect of the game, it was the stellar play of Gardner that kept Arizona close throughout. He made off balanced mid-range jumpers, NBA-range threes, pull-ups in the lane and every one of his free throws.

In a conference that has been quick to annoint USC's Sam Clancy as its Player of the Year, it might be smarter to delay that proclimation at least a few more days because when Gardner is on his game, there are few players in the NATION who are better.

Jason Gardner wins Player of the Game honors and no one else was even close.


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