Win at Troy sets up showdown

Thanks to the 80-69 win over USC, the Wildcats are back in the thick of the Pac-10 race. They head into Saturday's weekend showdown with UCLA just two games out of first place and can trim that lead with a win at Pauley.

The Trojan triangle and two was effective early, but a switch back to man seemed to be just what the Wildcats needed. When the Trojans went back to the unusual defense, Jawann McClellan stepped up and rendered the defense, which was intended to shut down Jerryd Bayless and Chase Budinger, ineffective.

McClellan scored a career high 23 points and kept Arizona in the game until Budinger heated up.

After a slow start Budinger indeed heated up. The Wildcat wing scored 29 points and was unstoppable in the key second half.

The battle between O.J. Mayo and Jerryd Bayless never really developed. Mayo was excellent early, but then came back down to earth a bit. The freshman scored 23 points, but needed to take 23 shots to do so.

Luckily for the Cats Bayless did not buy into the hype and played within himself. He scored just 10 points and only got nine shots off.

The turning point may have occurred early on. USC's sophomore guard Daniel Hackett took a hard fall diving for a loose ball and did not return to the game. That affected the Trojans' player rotation and it appeared that playing a man down led to the Trojans being tired down the stretch.

The win now sets up a big game with UCLA. The Cats are tied for third with a 5-3 league record. The Bruins are currently 7-1 after beating ASU on Thursday night.


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