No. 9 Wildcats Hold Off Oregon State, 65-54

March 1, 2001

By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Another 20-win season for Arizona, another miserablenight for Wildcats center Loren Woods.

Luke Walton matched his season high with 16 points as ninth-ranked Arizonabeat Oregon State 65-54 Thursday night to give the Wildcats a 20-win season forthe 14th year in a row.

The 7-foot-2 Woods, in his next-to-last home game, had two points, was0-for-4 from the field and grabbed two rebounds in 26 minutes.

Afterward, he expressed his frustration by admitting he wishes he would haveleft for the NBA after his junior season last year.

'Yeah, I regret it,' Woods said. 'Out of 59 players chosen in the draft,I can at least be 59th. I wish I would have left last year, because I at leastwould have gone out on top.'

Arizona coach Lute Olson seems to have given up on trying to boost Woods'sagging self-confidence.

'His teammates and the staff have tried to buck him up with that, but if hedoesn't want to then he doesn't want to,' Olson said. 'It's obvious it's notgoing to change now.'

Michael Wright added 13 points and Gilbert Arenas 10 for the Wildcats (20-7,12-3 Pac-10). Richard Jefferson had nine points and a season-high 10 reboundsas Arizona dominated the boards 39-21.

Point guard Jason Gardner was scoreless for the first time in his twoseasons with the Wildcats.

Walton pointed to his new Marine-style haircut, a far cry from his father'slong-haired appearance in his playing days.

'That is what did it for me,' Walton said. 'I just wanted a new look forthe tournament.'

Deaundra Tanner and Jimmie Haywood each scored 15 for the Beavers (10-18,4-12), who lost for the 19th consecutive time at McKale Center. Jason Heideadded 13 points for Oregon State.

'They have the ability to go to their bench and we don't have thatluxury,' Oregon State coach Ritchie McKay said. 'We are short-handed, andthey are deep in their lineup with Eugene Edgerson, Justin Wessel and LukeWalton.'

The Wildcats took control with a 20-6 run in the first half after a raretechnical foul against Olson. Tanner sank both Oregon State free throws to cutthe lead to 12-10 with 12:26 left in the half.

Arizona, with a lineup of five reserves, went on an 11-3 spurt to go up25-13 on Edgerson's two free throws with 7:30 left. When the 20-6 outburstended on Arenas' two free throws with 4:11 left in the half, the Wildcats led32-26.

The teams played to a virtual, and sometimes sloppy, standoff after that.

'It seemed like once we got up 18 or whatever, it sort of looked like welost interest,' Olson said. '`Let's just get this thing over with' is what itlooked like.'

Arizona led by as many as 20 before Oregon State outscored the Wildcats 13-4at the finish. The final 11-point margin was as close as the methodical Beaversgot in the second half.

'Our big guys got into foul trouble early and as thin as we are, we needeverybody healthy,' Haywood said. 'In the first half we had a lot of mentallapses and it hurt us. Instead of just playing and do what we do best, we werethinking too much out on the court.'

McCay drew a technical for running onto the court to complain that Jeffersonhad a foot on the line on a free throw. Wright made those two free throws togive Arizona a 35-18 lead with 3:29 left in the half.

Jefferson's 14-footer 2:14 before halftime gave the Wildcats their biggestfirst-half lead 37-19. Arizona led 39-23 at the break.

Arizona reserves scored 20 of the team's 39 first-half points.

Oregon State's Brian Jackson fouled out with 17:12 left in the game andfinished with two points.

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