Wildcats Stop Streaking Bears
Jan. 4, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - On an emotional night at McKale Center, the 16th-rankedArizona Wildcats survived the ejection of Loren Woods to beat California 78-75in their Pac-10 opener.
Michael Wright matched his career high with 28 points and Gilbert Arenasscored nine of his 13 points in the final six minutes, with Woods out of thegame.
The Wildcats (8-4) were without coach Lute Olson for the second consecutivegame. Olson has taken an indefinite leave of absence following the death of hiswife, Bobbi, of cancer on Monday.
Arizona players wore a black strip across their left shoulder in honor ofthe woman they and many before them knew as a second mother. She had cookedpancakes for the players and was a constant, outgoing presence in the crowduntil illness kept her away.
But Arizona, which had struggled throughout the early season after beingranked No. 1 in the preseason, nearly lost consecutive home games for the firsttime since 1983-84, Olson's first season at Arizona.
The Wildcats took the lead for good with a 9-1 run, with Arenas scoringseven, after Woods was thrown out with 6:17 left.
Sean Lampley scored 21, including 4 of 6 3-pointers for the Bears (8-4), whohad won seven in a row. Ryan Forehan-Kelly added 16 points. Cal shot 57 percentfrom the field, including 8-for-17 from 3-point range.
Arizona shot 54 percent, and the Wildcats made 10 consecutive free throws inthe final 3:51.
Woods, Arizona's 7-foot-1 center, had to be restrained by teammates afterreferee Charlie Range called a foul against him with 6:17 left. Range called aquick technical, then another when Woods kept trying to get to him.
California turned the incident into a five-point play.
Shantay Legans made three of four free throws on the technicals, thenSolomon Hughes made two more on the foul and the Bears led 65-61.
Arenas sank a 3-pointer, Hughes missed two free throws, and Arenas banked ina short jumper to put Arizona ahead 66-65 with 4:21 to play. Arenas' two freethrows made it 68-65 with 3:51 left.
Hughes blocked Arenas' shot, but Wright grabbed it in mid-air and put it into put Arizona ahead 70-66 with 2:23 remaining. Arenas' two free throws with1:55 to go made it 72-66 with 1:55 remaining.
But Cal rallied again. Forehan-Kelly sank his last 3-pointer and Lampleymade a short jumper to cut the lead to 72-71 with 34.4 seconds remaining.
Jason Gardner and Wright each sank two free throws to make it 76-72, thenBrian Wethers banked in a 3-pointer to slice it to 76-75 with 11.6 seconds togo.
Richard Jefferson's two free throws put Arizona up 78-75 with 6.6 secondsremaining, and Wethers' 3-pointer at the buzzer wasn't even close.
There was a moment of silence before the tipoff, preceded by a brief tributeby public address announcer Jonathan Norris.
'Bobbi and Lute were an unbeatable team,' Norris said. 'During the 18years that she called Tucson home, Bobbi's warm personality and graceful naturemade everyone feel very special.'
The Bears led 17-10 early, but a 10-0 spurt put Arizona up 35-26 with 4:29left in the half. The Wildcats led 38-32 at the break.
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer