Players of the Game: A(nderson) to Z(ahn)

If CBS does another Arizona ever again it will be a Greek Tragedy. Arizona played its best game since last year's demolition of Michigan State in the Final Four and the East Coast media outlet decided to switch us West Coasters over to the NC State-Wake Forest game. Although they brought the Cats back 10 minutes later, fans missed out on the single best team effort of the year.

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What a difference two days can make.

Thursday night Arizona came out flat (save for Jason Gardner), played sloppy basketball and lost to an average Stanford team. Against Cal, the Wildcats showed their true colors and redeemed themselves with a 99-53 shellacking of second place Cal.

Arizona came out hot and literally never cooled off as every single player contributed to the 46-point victory. From A (Ricky Anderson) to Z (Andrew Zahn), the Cats played like the '88 version of Arizona and gained some huge momentum heading into next weekend's Pac-10 Tournament.

In alphabetical order, here are the Players of the Game:

Rick Anderson-Sick with the flu but came out stroking it from deep and attacking the glass. Anderson finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, and he hit 3-of-5 three-point attempt for good measure.

Will Bynum-"The Thrill" played like his namesake today and made up for a one-game suspension against Stanford with 14 points against the Bears. His four three-pointers highlighted his performance and showed that if he can play like he did today, Arizona is a very, very good team.

Jason Gardner-Arizona's "Shepherd of the Court" (thanks, UDUG) didn't score until the four minute mark of the first half, but then he exploded for seven quick points before halftime. For the game, Gardner had 15 points and made three more three-pointers to up his season total to 95 for the year, leaving him only 19 behind the season record of 114 held by Steve Kerr in 1987-88.

Peter Hansen-Even with chants of "Block that kick!" resonating in the background, Hansen nailed two free throws and commited two very nice fouls in his brief stint on the floor. The only senior on Arizona's roster, Hansen was the fan favorite of the day and lived up to the fans' adulation.

Dennis Latimore-This was the game Arizona fans have been waiting patiently for from the freshman. Latimore scored a career-high 12 points and pulled down five rebounds in an extended amount of playing time. If he builds upon his breakout performance, Arizona will be so much the better for it. He played with confidence today and that is the key to Latimore's game the rest of the way.

Salim Stoudamire-Nights like Salim had on Thursday are going to be the exception and days like he had today will be the rule. After going 1-11 (and 0-6 from deep) against Stanford, Stoudamire got back on his Freshman-of-the-Year track with 15 points on 5-7 (3-5) shooting. Salim also continued his tenacious defense and was guarding 6-10 Amit Tamir at times during the first half. The FOY award is Salim's and he has earned it.

Luke Walton-The newly-shorn Walton nearly had another triple-double with 10 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. He was back to his brilliant creative self against the Bears and shucked off the turnover problems he had on Thursday night without any trouble at all. Walton strengthened his chances for a possible conference Player of the Year honor with his all-around play against Cal.

Andrew Zahn-Zahn came in and immediately made his presence felt with two strong rebounds and his first-ever three-pointer from the left corner. The McKale Center crowd erupted when his three snapped the net and Zahn threw up his hands, each signaling "three", into the air.

It was an outstanding game and the perfect building block heading into the postseason for the Wildcats. Everyone contributed, everyone played well and everyone is happy again.

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