Arizona Wins Big Over Sam Houston State

Arizona entered the first round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic unranked for the first time in 312 polls. Being unranked seemed to be enough to spark the Cats who opened up the game on a 22-5 run. Arizona controlled the rest of the game and went on to win 87-51, and will now face Western Kentucky in the Championship.

Arizona's early 22-5 run, over the first eight or so minutes, really set the tempo for the Cats as they rolled early. The Cats continued their strong shooting performance from Utah in the first half with a 56% performance from the field.

Using their impressive shooting and suffocating defense, which forced 18 first half turnovers, the UA jumped out by as many as 23 points leading 45-22 at halftime. Arizona had not score more than 42 points in the first half all season.

Arizona continued strong forcing 3 turnovers in the 1:30 of the second half. Their shooting performance continued as well as Arizona maintained their lead and slowly built on it before leading by as many as 42.

Marcus Williams added the best night of his young career tallying 18 points. He also added two rebounds, one steal, and two assists. Chris Rodgers also had an impressive night scoring 19 points with five assists.

Arizona's second half was just as strong at the first half and Arizona went on to win in impressive fashion, dominating almost every aspect of the game. All things told Arizona shot 34-of-65 from the field, 11-of-22 from behind the arc. The UA defensive stand was excellent forcing 29 turnovers. The UA also tallied 26 assists with Mustafa Shakur leading the way with seven of his own.

This win brought a number of milestones for the Cats. It was the 747th win for Head Coach Lute Olson, moving him into sole position of 15th place on the all-time wins list ahead of Phog Allen. The 87 points the Cats scored was their highest of the season.

The Fiesta Bowl Classic Tournament has been around for 21 consecutive years, the Cats have reached the Championship every year, losing just once to Mississippi State in 2000.

Arizona now looks forward to Western Kentucky, this Wednesday at 6:30 pm MST.

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