Cats hold off NAU

Arizona opened the 2007-08 season with a less than impressive 76-69 win over Northern Arizona. The Cats had to hang on to beat the pesky Lumberjacks who made a late run to make things very interesting.

The Cats seemed to be in total control before NAU used a 13-0 run to cut the Wildcat lead to three in the final two minutes. Jawann McClellan hit a jumper with about a minute and a half left to break the scoring run and the Cats hit enough free throws to hold off the Big Sky opponent.

"I think the signs are clear, we're going to play well at times and poor at times," said interim head coach Kevin O'Neill.

The Cats gave up 50% shooting in the second half, with most coming from inside the paint. NAU Outscored the Cats 30-22 on the inside. Arizona's four big men scored just 12 combined points, with eight coming from Jordan Hill.

Conversely, NAU's Kyle Landry scored 17 points, almost all coming inside.

While Arizona's inside players scuffled, the perimeter game was okay offensively. Chase Budinger scored 25 points to lead all scorers. Jerryd Bayless made his Wildcat debut and scored 18 points and dished out five assists. The only downside was that he missed a pair of free throws in the final minute that made things closer than they should be.

Jawann McClellan added 15 points for the Wildcats.


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