Cats too much for Terriers

Arizona had difficulty doing it, but the host Wildcats dispatched Boston University 85-71 to claim their 17th championship in the Fiesta Bowl Classic. The experienced Terriers gave the Wildcats all they could handle, but a late run finished off the upstarts from the America East Conference.

Hassan Adams continued his stellar play with 17 points and six rebounds, a performance that won him tournament MVP honors. Two days before, the freshman had 18 points and seven boards in the victory over Davidson. Adams was efficient, making 7-of-9 shots in the game.

"That should probably rub off on people," Lute Olson said. "If you take good shots you get a good percentage. He's open or he doesn't shoot."

Luke Walton had a stellar start to the second half, but aggravated his injured ankle midway through the half and did not return. He scored 16 points and pulled down seven boards.

The gutsy effort by the Terriers showed why they are an experienced team with a good shot at returning to the NCAA Tournament. They played a solid game on both ends of the floor, getting a balanced effort. Billy Collins and Jason Grochowalski each scored 13 points, while four more Terriers scored at least seven.

Boston University did exactly what they needed to do to keep the game close in the first half. The Terriers showed great patience and looked for good shots in an attempt to slow down the up-tempo Wildcats. Even when the Cats went to the press they couldn't force the tempo. Although the Wildcats scored 44 first half points, they were never able to go on a run to distance themselves from the visiting team from Beantown.

The Wildcats never led by more than eight in the first half. Every time they looked to break things open, a Terrier would answer. Early on, it was Billy Collins who led the way. The Terrier forward scored nine of the teams first 11 points and Boston University actually led 11-9 early on.

Adams followed up his three with a layin to give Arizona a 19-15 lead and a few minutes later Isaiah Fox and Will Bynum had two straight lay-ins to give the Wildcats their biggest lead of the half 25-17.

Instead of building on the lead, the Cats lapsed defensively and let Shaun Wynn drive to the basket on two straight possessions. After Collins nailed two free throws, the Wildcat lead had dwindled to two, 25-23.

The two teams traded buckets over the next several minutes. Rashad Bell and Grochowalski took their turns to help the Terriers keep pace. Bell answered with two straight buckets and then Grochowalski scored three buckets to match every Wildcat score.

The basket trading continued, but the Cats struck last as Rick Anderson buried a three at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 44-38 lead at the half.

After a lackluster first half, Walton exerted himself at the start of the second. Walton scored 11 of the Wildcats first 13 points, all before the first television timeout. Between Walton's hot hand and a more effective press, the Cats shot out to a 57-49 lead.

However, Arizona was not able to shake the Terriers until late in the game. Boston U. continued to eat into the lead until the Wildcats finally put together a 16-3 run sparked by an intentional foul committed against Adams. Adams. Chris Rodgers were pressuring the Terriers near midcourt when Adams stripped the ball and sprinted towards the hoop for what looked to be another highlight reel dunk. Before Adams could finish thrilling the crowd, Boston U's Collins hit him from behind. Adams sank both free throws and on the ensuing possession Stoudamire drained a three from the corner that all but sank the Terriers.

Rodgers played 11 minutes, but for the second straight game gave the Wildcats a great defensive effort.

"The key to our defense tonight was Chris Rodgers," Olson said. "If he can create problems out in front of the play, then that sparks the rest of the defense behind him."

Gardner scored 11 points while dishing out six assists. His final three-pointer pushed him past Chris Mills for eighth place on the all-time Arizona scoring list. Stoudamire, who got the start in the backcourt with Gardner, had 12 points and four assists. The sophomore guard nailed 3-of-5 three-point attempts.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories