Wildcats Shoot Huskies Down

Arizona got an amazing performance from guards Mustafa Shakur and Jawann McClellan, and freshman Chase Budinger lived up to his hype as the Wildcats played a near perfect game to knock of the Washington Huskies in Seattle 98-87 this evening.

McClellan connected on 6 of 9 three-pointers and wound up with 22 points. The Wildcats were led by Budinger's 23, but Seattle native Marcus Williams had 22 to contribute to the win.

Arizona had to play at a high level to win this one, as Washington came out ready to play. The Huskies were led by Quincy Pondexter's 25. Phil Nelson, Spencer Hawes, and Jon Brockman all added 16 points apiece.

The two teams swung toe to toe for nearly 36 minutes but the young Huskies faded down the stretch on offense and just couldn't match the guard play of the visitors. The senior leadership of Shakur was evident, and the passing of the Wildcats was sharp.
1st Half: Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar shook things up for his Husky squad, replacing his struggling point guard Justin Dentmon in the starting line up with Ryan Appleby. He also put Quincy Pondexter on the bench in favor of fellow freshman Phil Nelson. That line up gave the Huskies a nice start, and they needed it because Arizona came out white-hot.

The Wildcats connected on nine of their first 12 shots, led by freshman Chase Budinger's 12 early points, seemingly effortless. Outside shots were falling early and often for Mustafa Shakur as well, and the Huskies trailed by seven despite playing well and shooting a respectable 50% from the field to that point.

Then the Wildcats went to their bench, as did Washington, and that is when the Huskies climbed into the driver's seat. Fueled by Quincy Pondexter's 17 points in 7 minutes coming on an array of marvelous moves and shots, a 25 footer from Ryan Appleby, and Phil Nelson's four for four shooting, Washington went on a 25-4 run to muscle ahead by 14 points. The Dawg Pack was going wild as was the Husky bench and it looked as if Arizona would unravel.

A great time out by Lute Olson and ensuing designed out-of-bounds play worked to perfection to get Arizona out of its funk. That, combined with Spencer Hawes going to the bench for rest, resulted in the Wildcats scoring 15 straight points to go back on top. Jawann McClellan and Shakur both buried long jumpers during the run, which was finally stopped by a Pondexter driving lay-in. Pondexter followed that with another tough jumper from the baseline.

Two Jon Brockman free-throws put the Huskies on top 51-48 at the break.

Budinger had 14 and McClellan and Shakur had 11 at the half to pace the Wildcats, while Pondexter's 21 and Nelson's 10 led the Dawgs. The Husky bench outscored the 'Cats 25 – 0 to that point.
2nd Half: - Both teams came out on fire on offense, but little defense. Arizona began the half with a 5-0 run, breaking down the Husky zone defense with deft passing and lights out shooting. Washington stayed with the 'Cats with seven straight Jon Brockman points and Pondexter heated back up. Back to back threes by Budinger and McClellan followed by two Ivan Radenovic free throws put the visitors on top by three. A Husky turnover led to two Shakur free throws and the Huskies were starting at a 74-69 deficit.

Arizona's guards then went on a tear, as Shakur and McClellan buried long three-pointers and Marcus Williams made a long two to put the 'Cats on top by five. A Nelson three-pointer and some points in the paint from Hawes and Brockman kept the Huskies close though. As the game went under five minutes, Arizona held an 87-84 lead. McClellan continued his torrid shooting, burying yet another three. Brockman followed that with a turnover and at the final media time out with 3:37 remaining, the Wildcats led by 4 and had the ball.

An amazing stat - Arizona had shot an amazing 78% to that point for the second half. SEVENTY-EIGHT PERCENT. Yet Washington was still in it.

After three empty possessions in a row for the Huskies, Arizona got an easy fast-break basket from Williams. An Appleby three missed long and then a Radenovic lay in put the icing on the cake with 1:06 left.

Washington had gone without a point for 4:25, the defining stretch in the game, while Arizona shot the lights out of the Husky zone defense.

The loss is the third in a row for the Huskies in Pac-10 play, and leaves them at 0-3. They next face Arizona State, also 0-3 in conference play, in Bank of America Arena on Saturday.

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