No. 8 Arizona Shuts Down ASU, 88-58

Feb. 21, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - It was a typical second half for Gilbert Arenas, and itwas just what the eighth-ranked Arizona Wildcats needed to overcome afirst-half funk.

Arenas scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the first nine minutes of thesecond half as Arizona rebounded from a slow start to rout Arizona State 88-58on Wednesday night.

'In the first half, we were struggling like we usually do,' said Arenas,who shot 7-of-11 from the floor. 'We just came out on a hot spree. All of uswere contributing the ball and hitting big shots.'

Michael Wright added 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Eugene Edgerson had 12points for the Wildcats (19-7, 11-3 Pac-10), who won their 12th straightagainst the Sun Devils (11-14, 3-11). Arizona has won five of its last six, and11 of 13 overall.

Brad Nahra, a former walk-on, scored 12 points and Chad Prewitt added 11 forArizona State, which lost for the fourth time in five games. The Sun Devilshave lost seven of their last nine at home, including a 1-6 mark in the Pac-10.

'Arizona came in and took the fight to us and took us out of everything wewere trying to do,' Arizona State coach Rob Evans said. 'They intimidated usa little bit with their play.'

Arenas, who scored 23 in Arizona's 86-75 victory over the Sun Devils lastmonth, hit a pair of 3-pointers and added two free throws as the Wildcatsopened the second half with a 15-0 run to extend a nine-point halftime lead to49-25 with 16:29 remaining.

'Gil is becoming the go-to guy. It's as simple as that,' Edgerson said.'Without him, we'd be in bad shape. He's the type of person you need cometournament time and down the stretch in the Pac-10.'

Shawn Redhage ended the Sun Devils' scoring drought on a layup with 16:12 togo, but the Wildcats' onslaught continued.

The Wildcats outscored Arizona State 27-5 during the first 9:25 of thesecond half to take a 61-34 lead.

Arizona led by as many as 35 in the final minutes.

The Wildcats' torrid second-half start was in stark contrast to theWildcats' sluggish first 20 minutes.

Awvee Storey's 18-foot jumper gave the Sun Devils an 11-8 lead with 12:53left in the first half. But Justin Wessel and Jason Gardner hit consecutive3-pointers to spark an 8-0 run and put Arizona ahead 16-11. And the Wildcatsslowly stretched their lead from there.

Arizona opened its biggest lead of the first half, 28-16, when Wright hitthe second of two free throws with 4:21 remaining.

The Wildcats hit just eight of 20 field-goal attempts, but went to the foulline often to take a 34-25 halftime lead.

Wright, Arizona's leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, missed his onlyfield-goal attempt of the first half but was 9-of-11 from the line.

'They foul a lot,' Wright said of the Sun Devils. 'I was mad because Ididn't knock the other two down.'

As a team, the Wildcats connected on 16-of-21 first-half free-throw attemptsto match the pattern established in the teams' first meeting Jan. 24. Arizonatook advantage of 44 Arizona State fouls to take a 32-9 advantage at the linein its victory over the Sun Devils.

The Wildcats finished 36-of-47 from the line, compared to the Sun Devils'14-for-23.

Among the 55 fouls called were three technicals, including a flagrant fouland ejection on Storey with 5:38 remaining. Prewitt and Arizona's RichardJefferson also were called for technicals.

'I enjoy physical games, but I don't enjoy cheap shots,' Edgerson said.'They were doing a couple of things that were outside the rules of basketball.At times, their guys were trying to hurt our guys and that ain't right.'

Said Evans: 'I'll take a look at the tape and see if there was anyunnecessary stuff out there. I thought I saw some things on both ends. Somewere called and some were not. If I see anything that shouldn't have been outthere, I'll take care of it.

'My teams play hard. My teams will not play dirty.'

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