1,000 fans watch Cats practice

UA coach Lute Olson opened Saturday's practice to the public and more than 1,000 fans showed up see what the upcoming season holds in store. The full-court scrimmage proved to be highly competitive and entertaining.

A full court scrimmage was conducted with referees and the Wildcats were split into two groups.

The Blues:
Jason Gardner
Hassan Adams
Andre Iguodala
Rick Anderson
Isaiah Fox
Fil Torres

The Whites:
Will Bynum
Chris Rodgers
Luke Walton
Dennis Latimore
Channing Frye
Jason Ranne

Freshman power forward Chris Dunn played on both teams.

During pre-game drill Olson and the assistants had the team working on full-court pressure defense. This is a team with tremendous quickness, with Gardner and Bynum at the point and Adams and Iguodala at the wings. Even Walton, Anderson and Frye did a good job of running the floor and putting pressure on the opponent.

The Wildcats implemented some of the pressure defensive scheme when the scrimmage started, but both teams had little trouble breaking the press. Will Bynum played great defense on Gardner and it was Bynum's pressure on Gardner that kept the White squad in the game. When Rodgers guarded Gardner, Gardner had his way and either found his way into the lane or got fouled.

In the end, it was Rodgers foul on Gardner that sealed the game for the Blues. With the scored tied at 93 and two seconds showing on the game clock, Rodgers was called for a reach in foul. Gardner calmly went to the line and hit both free throws. The Whites tried a long desperation pass in the final seconds, but the ball sailed out of bounds. The Blues ended the scoring with an in bounds pass to Adam, who slammed it home and the Blues won 97-93.

The first half was a highlight reel of dunks. Iguodala drove the right baseline past his defender, then used the basket to guard against getting his shot blocked and went in for a reverse dunk. The play was reminiscent of past Richard Jefferson-type dunks. Adams also got into the act with a couple of spectacular dunks that had the crowd oohing and aahing.

At the half, the Whites held a slim 53-52 lead.

The Blues turned up the defensive pressure and with an Adams steal and dunk pulled out to a 68-63 lead at the 10:04 mark of the second half. Another Iguodala reverse dunk pushed the Blues lead to seven points at 70-63 and offensive rebound and put back by Dunn made it 72-63.

Then the White team came storming back with 10-0 run. Frye scored seven quick points on a baby hook, an old-fashioned three-point play and tip-in, and then Rodgers hit a three to give the White a 73-72 lead.

The lead changed several times and neither team to grab more than a three point advantage the rest of the way. Anderson hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Blues an 86-83 lead. Rogers gave the White team its last lead at 91-90, but Gardner's experience led to the winning play when he lured Rodgers into the foul that sent him to the line for the winning free throws.

The Wildcats will hold another open practice next Saturday prior to the football game with Washington State. The time of the practice has not yet been announced.


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