Game Talk: Arizona 88, Oregon 80

Arizona could not find the bucket in the first half and it looked as if Senior Day might be a disaster. But fittingly, it was senior Jason Gardner who carried the Wildcats to victory with 21 second-half points. The Wildcats ended the regular season 17-1 in the Pac-10 Conference and 25-2 overall.<BR>It was an emotional farewell for the three seniors and they had plenty to say about their last game at McKale Center when it over.

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Jason Gardner
"In the second half I think we played a lot better defensively. We pressured the ball a little better and moved the ball a little better. The first half I think we pressed a little bit and worried too much out there."

On having a big 21-point second half
"Offensively I was more relaxed out there. In the first half I was stressed a lot and in the second half I came out with an open mind and didn't worry too much. I was letting it come to me and the shot was there."

How satisfying was it to go out with a big performance?
"It was very satisfying. Oregon came in and did great job tonight. Oregon gave us a real close game and just to go out and have the fans chant your name with your family here it was a big night."

On the fans chanting his name
"I heard it, I was hearing everything. It was my last night and it was a very emotional night for me. I'm just sad there's no more games for me here, but we still have a long stretch in front of us."

On who should get the Pac-10 Player of the Year award
"Theres still a couple of other guys in the Pac-10 that could get (the award) but hopefully myself or Luke will get it. Hopefully somebody from our team gets it because it's a team effort."

Who was more emotional tonight?
"Probably my mother. She came out here. First she didn't really want to come out here, but she came out and she's been here four years. She's been a great help for me, inspirational, and we're always together. We're very close."

On the team's mental state as they enter tournament play
"I think our mental part is good. The guys know there's only the Pac-10 (Tournament) left and the NCAA Tournament and it's one and done in both of them. So I think the guys understand that and this week we're going to prepare to reach the second goal (National Championship) we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year."

Luke Walton
On the play of Jason Gardner
"Jason was awesome. I think he showed tonight why he's one of the premiere point guards in the country. He's the leader of the No. 1 team in the country and he did it again tonight."

On the emotions of Senior Day
"It was real tough, but it was fun anyway. The young guys and Jason did a good job to make sure we won and that's all that matters. I wish I would have played better but it happens. I would have liked to have hit more shot on my last day, but things happen like that."

On playing in front of the McKale Center fans for the last time
"It's amazing. The crowd's been great. They've been great ever since we've been here. Knowing that it's all coming to an end pretty soon, it was pretty special. Especially doing it with Jason and Ricky, two of my best friends, made it even better for me."

On the play of Salim Stoudamire
"Salim is a competitor and a winner. He's been upbeat everyday since (Lute Olson benched him Thursday night). He's been working hard and today he stepped up and was huge for us."

Rick Anderson
On how he felt when he walked off McKale for the last time
"I felt good, but I felt kind of sad because this environment is unbelievable."

Did you cry?
"No I didn't. But I think I would have cried if I would have made a couple more shots tonight. I didn't cry, but I was holding my emotions in. I had a lot of emotions. I'll probably cry later on tonight with these guys."

On Jason Gardner's 21 second half points
"He was just on fire. His heart and his attitude and his desire to win is so good."

Salim Stoudamire
On his frustration when he got two quick fouls in the first half
"Man, I couldn't stand watching on the sideline. I was too antsy. I had that look on my face and I wanted to be in the game. I just made two stupid fouls. I wasn't geing fundamental, reaching and stuff. I was just overly excited."

On his reaction to being benched Thursday night
"I had to bounce back like Spalding. That's what I do. I had to redeem myself. There is no excuse for how I reacted."

On his big second half
"Jason showed ultimate confidence in me because he could have taken the game over but yet he passed it to me."

Hassan Adams
On the spectacular dunk that gave the Wildcats the lead for good at 58-57
"I was out on the wing and J (Gardner) is always looking for me. I got it and we kind of fed of the momentum. I knew (it was coming) because he always looks for me and I always look for him."

On the play of Oregon
"It was another test because they're a great team and they play hard. Basically we were tested ourselves to see if we could meet the challenge and we did."

How special was it for you to help the seniors go out winners?
"It was great. I've been friends with them and it's been a great experience and I'm happy for them. But we're not done yet and they're going to take us all the way."

On the play of Jason Gardner
"He's been great all year and when you need him he's there. He deserves (to be named the Pac-10 Player of the Year). He's been working for four years here and I'm happy for him and happy to play with him."

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