It wasn't pretty, but Cats advance

Luckily for the Wildcats there are no style points in college basketball. Although the degree difficulty was high, there was little artistic merit as the Wildcats downed Stanford 73-68 in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament.

The Cats did not shoot well and missed a number of easy buckets, but they were effective enough on the defensive end and were good enough from the foul line to hang on for the win.

Without Hassan Adams in the line-up, it was the new backcourt that came up big at the end. Chris Rodgers made a 15-foot step-back and Mustafa Shakur had a big steal that led to a pair of foul shots.

"It was an all out brawl for that win," Shakur said on the Fox Sports Net television broadcast.

Shakur was one of the few Wildcats that shot well. He was 5-8 from the field and scored 18 points. In addition he grabbed seven rebounds, dished out six assists and failed to commit a single turnover.

Rodgers was not great from the field, but did score 11 points and more importantly, had five steals. All told the Wildcats forced 23 turnovers, 13 from steals.

Ivan Radenovic also put in a solid effort. He scored 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds and held Matt Haryasz to just two second half points.

Stanford made a late run. Chris Hernandez hit a deep three and Tim Morris added a two handed jam off an offensive rebound, but two late turnovers sealed the Cardinal's fate.

The first half started the way it did in Palo Alto last month. The Cardinals stormed out of the locker room with a 9-2 run, thanks in part to made jumpers by Matt Haryasz and Chris Hernandez.

Arizona was not down long, thanks in part to a pair of unlikely Bret Brielmaier buckets. The Cats responded with a 16-2 run of their own and led 18-11. The run was sparked by several uncharacteristic Cardinal turnovers and the Wildcats playing more intense on the offensive end.

Just when it seemed as if the Cats could run away with this one, the Cardinal rallied. Stanford began taking better care of the ball and scored 11 of the next 13 points.

From there on out the game remained close. Both teams struggled offensively in stages, but without allowing the other team to break the game open. Even when Arizona went cold late in the game, including a number of missed buckets from inside of five feet, they hung in the game by stiffening on defense and getting to the foul line.

At one point in the late stages of the second half the Wildcats missed 11 straight shots, but never surrendered the lead.


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