Stanford traveled to Tucson, hoping to achieve a split on the road trip through the Desert and extend its winning streak to five at the McKale Center. Stanford did take a small lead early in the contest but succumbed to their host for the second straight game. The Wildcats of the University of Arizona scored a convincing 90-72 victory against the Cardinal, dropping Stanford to 6-5 in Pac-10 play.
With early three-pointers from Chris Hernandez and Dan Grunfeld, Cardinalmaniacs™ held hope that Stanford would move past their poor performance against Arizona State on Thursday night. Rob Little's basket in the paint six minutes into the game was the seventh lead change, putting Stanford ahead 12-11. Matt Haryasz's jumper on Stanford's next possession pushed the lead to three. The advantage would not last long.
Playing an intense, up-tempo game, Arizona was simply too quick for Stanford. The Wildcats were able to score fast break points, block shots, and create a lethal inside-out game. Immediately after Stanford took a three-point lead, Hassan Adams swung the ball to Chris Rodgers on the right wing. Rodgers drained the three-pointer, his second since coming off the bench. Trent Johnson called a timeout to prevent the Wildcats from garnering all of the momentum. However, his effort was soon shown to be futile. Kirk Walters' hook shot at the 11:10 mark gave Arizona a 16-14 lead, the eighth and final lead change of the contest.
Still within five points, Nick Robinson tried to cut the deficit to three with a drive to the basket. Channing Frye vehemently rejected Robinson's shot, sending it to the sidelines. Stanford retained possession and Robinson tried another shot, a jumper from just outside the foul line. The ball hit the front of the rim hard and the rebound was batted around until Mustafa Shakur was able to secure the board. Shakur sprinted across the court but was blanketed by Fred Washington. Instead of forcing a shot, he found Salim Stoudamire open in three-point territory. Shakur passed the ball back to Stoudamire, who connected from outside to put Arizona head 29-21. It was a scenario that Stanford fans would be forced to relive again and again as the game progressed.
Arizona controlled the game until the final seconds of the half, going ahead by as many as thirteen points after Hasan Adams stepped in front of a Jason Haas pass and scored a lay-up in transition. At that point, the Wildcats held a 10-0 edge in fast break points.
A mini-run by Stanford in the final thirty seconds brought Stanford back within eight points. After Hernandez made a three-pointer, Haryasz tipped the ball away on the ensuing Wildcat possession. Haas dribbled up court in the waning ticks of the clock and laid the ball in as the buzzer sounded to make the halftime score 42-34.
Before a minute and a half had elapsed in the second half, Ivan Radenovic's jumper pushed the Arizona lead back to ten. Although Haryasz answered with a basket from the baseline the next time Stanford had the ball, the Cardinal never threatened during the remainder of the game. Once again, Stoudamire was able to draw defenders with penetration, leading to an open look for Shakur. Shakur was good again for three, putting Arizona on top 47-36. Hernandez tried to retort with a three of his own but the ball rattled out. The game took a macabre turn from that point.
The Cardinal were humbled for the rest of the game, unable to stop the deluge of highlight reel material from the Wildcats. Adams fed Frye down in the paint, who dunked the ball and was fouled despite the presence of five red jerseys within six feet. Arizona went ahead by 20 points at 73-53 after Stoudamire followed a Hernandez airball with a basket from high off the glass. The Wildcat lead hovered around the final margin for the rest of the game as a stymied Stanford squad could not generate any significant offensive runs.
Dan Grunfeld was a lone bright spot for Stanford, shooting 8-of-16 from the field and contributing 23 points, second among all scorers. However, his feat was overshadowed by the 26 points scored by Salim Stoudamire. Four more Wildcats scored double digits, including Adams, Radenovic, Frye, and Rodgers. For Stanford, only three players, Grunfeld, Hernandez, and Haryasz, scored more than seven points. Although Arizona frustrated Stanford with an onslaught of blocked shots, the two teams tied for rebounds at 33.
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