Game Talk: Arizona 88, Cal 75

To clinch the Pac-10 title, Arizona needs a sweep of the Bay Area schools. A win at Cal, something no other Pac-10 team had accomplished since the Wildcats 68-58 victory on Jan. 31, 2002, posed a monumental assignment as the first game on the weekend agenda.<BR>The Wildcats thrived on the capacity crowd in Haas Pavilion and downed the Bears 88-75.

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Lute Olson
On the big runs at the end of each half
"The leadership of the seniors is so vital. They make the big plays down the stretch and Salim Stoudamire hit a very big three for us. We've been a team all year long of runs. We ended the first half against ASU with a 12-4 run and started the second half with a 12-1 run. At UCLA it was a big run. Seems like we're a good momentum team and when Cal made a couple of good runs at us I think we did a good job of answering. When Cal got close we stepped up and knocked free throws down."

Are the Wildcats a better team now than the first time you played Cal?
"We're much better right now. But I thought Cal played very well. This is a very difficult place to play as everyone knows. They've only lost twice here in two years and we've been fortunate enough to be the one that knocked them off, but they're a very good team."

On the play of Joe Shipp, Brian Wethers and Amit Tamir
In the first half the three guys we knew we had to concentrate on had 29 of their team's 35 points. In the second Salim Stoudamire really did a great job on Joe Shipp. In the first half Salim was in foul trouble so we really had to milk minutes out of him, but he's a tough defender. I've always felt the toughest thing for a 6-5 or 6-6 forward is to play against a quick guard, especially if he's strong enough to hold his ground and Salim has done a great job on a lot of players."

Is this the best the team has played?
"This is four consecutive games now where we've played the best we've played all year."

On playing Stanford Saturday
"Saturday's game is a very key game for us because it could clinch the Pac-10 title for us. We've only lost one time in the league and that's to Stanford so we feel like we owe them one. But they're playing really well and their place is a tough place to play so one thing we know for sure is that it will be sold out and everyone will be excited about the game. But that's why the guys perform well on the road and respond well when the other team does as Cal did tonight. They made runs at us and we took them on and hit the shots we need to."

Jason Gardner
On the Bears second half spurt that closed the gap
"I think once they got back in the game we came down and shot some quick shots and they took advantage that. Then we settled down and moved the ball a little bit better and got some good looks and got ourselves back in the ball game."

On the team's defensive effort
"We all want to win the Pac-10 and get to the Final Four and I think guys are starting to understand what it takes to win ball games."

On his various roles on the team
"I kind of like it that way. There's not so much pressure on me to go out and score. We have a lot of scorers on the team so I just try to find them open shots and get them the ball with good shots. When they start to miss then it's my turn to step it up."

On the team coming together
"I think guys are starting to understand their roles. Defensively we've started to become a better team and offensively we're moving the ball better. Guys are starting to understand their roles."

Luke Walton
On the play of Salim Stoudamire
"Salim was huge. In the first half he hit some huge threes and made a real big one in the second half and he did it with being in foul trouble. A lot of times foul trouble takes him out of the game but he stuck with it and stayed focused tonight."

On everything coming together
"We came around quick. We've been struggling. In the middle of the season we weren't getting it done. But right now we're right where we want to be."

On playing three tough road near the end of the season
All these games are exciting and then going home for senior weekend, that's the perfect way to end the season."

On playing Stanford Saturday
They're the only team that's beat us so far in the Pac-10. They always play us good so we better be ready because it's going to be a war."

Channing Frye
On the win over Cal
"It feels good to win but we're never satisfied until the end of the season. Now we got another tough game with Stanford so we have go out and play. I'm not going to say it's just another basketball game. We do remember what happened at our house and we have to go in (to Maples Pavilion) and be focused and if we play Arizona defense we'll be alright."

Is this team playing its best basketball?
"I think so. We've learned so many things. We're listening to the coaches now and we're doing everything we need to do. We still have stints where we take quick shots, but we go out there and battle for 40 minutes and when we do that we'll be alright."

Andre Iguodala
On his spectacular first half dunk
"I just grabbed the rebound and I saw Joe Shipp coming on my left, so I did a right-to-left cross-over and the lane was open. A defender had his back turned to Ricky (Anderson) so I just took two steps and took off for the rim."

On these tough games leading up to the NCAA Tournament
"I think it's good to have these road games. We wanted to go undefeated in the Pac-10, but we lost a game. So we want to finish out strong and just be ready for the tournament."

On the Haas Pavilion crowd
"They were killing us. But I try to block it out and just go out and play hard and do whatever my team needs to win. Actually I like playing on the road better because the crowd gets after you and they're loud so you want to play hard to make them stop."


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