Cats demolish the Bears

TUCSON, ARIZ.-Cal scored first but after that it was all Arizona. The Wildcats steamrolled the Bears 99-53 in the biggest margin of victory for the Wildcats all season. Other than the margin of victory, the game featured a number of unusual occurrences for the Wildcats.

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The game saw Dennis Latimore score a career high 12 points, Andrew Zahn hit a three pointer and Peter Hansen receive the biggest ovation of the night.

The Wildcats had six players finish in double figures. Rick Anderson led the way with 17. He also added 9 rebounds in only 20 minutes of playing time. He and Will Bynum were both 3-of-5 from behind the arc. As a team the Wildcats shot 43.8% from down town.

"Everything that we did went well and nothing seemed to go well for them," Lute Olson said.

The Wildcats got it done in all facets of the game. They held Cal to 32.8% shooting and outrebounded them 48-27.

"This is the poorest we've performed all year," Cal coach Ben Braun said. "This was a poor effort on our part."

The two Wildcats who struggled against Stanford, Luke Walton and Salim Stoudamire, excelled in the early stages for Arizona. After giving up a three-pointer to Shantay Legans, the Wildcats rattled off 14 straight points, with the duo responsible for 11 of those points. Walton got the Cats on the board with an old fashioned three-point play. He and Stoudamire then did the rest of their damage from behind the arc. Walton nailed one and Stoudamire added a pair of three-pointers to put the Cats up 14-3.

"We wanted to make a statement," said Isaiah Fox. "We gave that game away on Thursday night and we weren't going to let that happen today."

Cal went to the bench and slowly climbed into striking distance. Amit Tamir and Dennis Gates score six of Cal's next 10 points and the Bears trailed only 21-13 at the 10:00 mark.

The Cats got good first half production off the bench as well. Dennis Latimore came in and scored six first half points. He had a put-back and a lay-in, then added two free throws.

The Wildcats used back to back threes to jumpback out to a 27-14 lead. Stoudamire and Will Bynum hit from opposite corners to give the Wildcats the 13 point margin. Bynum's next three doubled the score. His shot with Brian Weathers hand in his face put the Wildcats up 32-16 with 6:14 left on the half.

Cal cut the lead to single digits utilizing an 11-4 run. Weathers turn around jumper trimmed it to 34-25.

Thanks to the efforts of Jason Gardner, Arizona closed out the half on an 11-2 run. Gardner scored seven points,assisted Channing Frye on an alley-oop lay-in and hit a three-pointer to give the Wildcats a 19-point halftime lead.

The Wildcats opened the second half the way they ended the first. Arizona outscored the Bears 29-4 over the first ten minutes of the half. Gardner was the spark before the first television timeout. The junior guard hit a baseline jumper and a three-pointer before Bynum's third three put the Cats up 61-34.

The Bears finally scored when Wethers hit a leaner at the 9:39 mark, but the Wildcats had taken control 79-36. However, the Bears used that momentum to run off a modest 4-0 run but never got much closer.

Lute Olson went to his bench with over 4:00 left in the contest, but even the little used walk-ons were able to extend the Wildcat lead.

The win gives Arizona momentum heading into the Pac-10 Tournament. Coming into the game Arizona had dropped 3-of-4 games. Now they have a 43-point win on their resume.

"We just needed to play well and use this game as a send off," Olson said. "I just wanted us to play well. Because we are so young every game we can play well is great."

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